Offner remarked upon the panel’s adherence to Florentine Trecento models, making particular reference to a panel by the Master of the Dominican Effigies.2 The Christ Child’s outward gaze, and the fact that He is enveloped in the Virgin’s embroidered robe both find parallels in Niccolò di Tommaso’s painting of 1362 formerly in the Stoclet collection, Brussels,3 but Offner believed Giovanni del Biondo had succeeded in giving “a new and individual solution to the composition”. His Christ Child is held in a more naturalistic way by the Madonna, His upper body emerging from her tender embrace, thus simplifying the composition for greater emotional and pictorial impact.
This intimate composition almost certainly influenced the panel of the same subject given to the workshop of del Biono in the collection of the Isaac Delgado Museum of Art in New Orleans. Although the condition of that panel is compromised, the presence of the Madonna, her long tapered fingers, the way that the Child is tightly swaddled, and the common clear influence of Ambrogio Lorenzetti in both pictures also support their common dating to the mid/late 70s. Lorenzetti’s influence is also visible in the present panel in the haphazard decorative motifs of the Virgin’s robes; a markedly Sienese trait, as well as in the proportions of the Madonna’s head, the way the Child clasps his mother’s breast, and the effective recession created in the depiction of the infant’s forehead.
1. Inv. no. 584; reproduced in R. Fremantle, Florentine Gothic Painters from Giotto to Masaccio. A guide to painting in and near Florence, 1300 to 1450, London 1975, p. 248, reproduced fig. 496.
2. See R. Offner & K. Steinweg 1969, sec. III, vol. VII, reproduced pl. XI and p. 34n.
3. Sold by Mme. Michèle Stoclet, from the collection formed by Adolphe Stoclet, London, Sotheby’s, 30 June 1965, lot 20.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale