PAOLO VENEZIANO AND CLOSE STUDIO ASSISTANT, POSSIBLY ONE OF HIS SONS, GIOVANNINO, LUCA OR PABLOThe Madonna and Child enthroned
- The Madonna and Child enthroned
- tempera on panel, gold ground
- 86 x 59.5 cm.; 33 7/8 x 23 3/8 in.
Thence by descent.
We are grateful to Professor Andrea De Marchi for confirming the attribution and for proposing that Paolo's son Giovannino assisted in the execution of the panel. De Marchi dates the work to the 1350s, probably after the Campana Polyptych dated 1354 in the Louvre, Paris, in which the Madonna is also seen enthroned and in which the halos of the two figures, particularly in the red cruciform design of the Child and the Mother's crown, closely match the present ones.1 De Marchi also suggests the present work was likely painted before the Saint Dominic Polyptych from San Severino Marche, of which the central panel, signed by both Paolo and Giovannino and dated 1358, is in the Frick Collection, New York.
We also thank Dr Christopher Platts for endorsing the attribution to Paolo and for dating the work to the mid- to late-1350s. Platts too believes that the work was executed with the help of a talented associate, possibly one of the artist's sons, as was frequent in the artist's production during the latter part of his career. For Platts the closest comparison is with the central panel of the aforementioned Campana Polyptych from 1354, and in particular the very similar way in which the bone structure of the eye sockets is defined.
Both De Marchi and Platts have kindly pointed us to an article by Roberta Maria Salvador in which she carefully analyses the tooling and punchwork found in Paolo's oeuvre. The master and his workshop made use of a unique three-pointed punch tool to create the triangular groups of three dots in the gilded halos. This particular punch tool is only found in works executed after circa 1349 and then disappears form the artist's known works after circa 1358, thus providing us with technical evidence which supports the stylistic dating of the work to the mid- to late-1350s.
1 See F. Pedrocco, Paolo Veneziano, Milan 2003, pp. 194–95, cat. no. 25, reproduced.
2 Pedrocco 2003, pp. 204–05, cat. no. 30, reproduced.
3 R. M. Salvador, 'Girali e racimoli. Paolo Veneziano e la definizione di un canone nella decorazione dei nimbi', in Arte veneta, 71, 2014, pp. 101–25.