In addition to the more unusual allegorical and mythological subjects that he painted, Piero also produced a number of religious or devotional paintings of a more standard type. This panel is exactly the sort of devotional image that the artist's many private patrons would have expected of him. He adopts the tondo format, then still in fashion in Florence, and certain details, such as the turbanned Madonna, suggest the influence of the younger generation of artists, particularly Raphael.
This painting was first (verbally) attributed to Piero di Cosimo by F. Mason Perkins in 1924, according to the mount of a photograph in the Frick Art Reference Library. The complex rock structure in the centre of the composition echoes that found in the earlier tondo of Saint Jerome in the Museo Horne, Florence.2 Geronimus notes that it is the only surviving example of Piero so precisely repeating motifs from within his œuvre.
At the time of the 2006 sale Everett Fahy and Dennis Geronimus independently endorsed the attribution to Piero di Cosimo after first-hand inspection. Geronimus subsequently included the work in his 2006 monograph dedicated to the artist (see Literature).
1 Bacci 1976, p. 86, cat.no. 6; and p. 93, cat. no. 32.
2 Bacci 1976, p. 88, cat. no. 15.
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