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Florentine School

The Mourning Madonna, 14th c.
Tempera on panel
19 3/8 x 19 5/8 in. (49.21 x 49.85 cm)

Creation Place: Europe, Italian
Technique: Painting
Credit Line: Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961
Accession Number: P61.1.8

This panel shows the Madonna as she witnesses the crucifixion of her son Jesus. It was prophesied that the suffering and death of Christ would also bring Seven Sorrows to His mother; when Mary and Joseph presented the infant Jesus in the temple, Simeon told Mary that "this child is destined to be a sign which men reject; and you too shall be pierced to the heart." (Luke 2: 34-35.) Here, Mary is shown half-lenght, har hands clasped, her gaze turned downward. Her anguished expression conveys unbereable pain; her Son is dying, but she is helpless to intervene.

This quatrefoil panel was apparently part of a larger Crucifixion, most likely placed at the end of one arm of the cross. The anonymous Florentine artist used color to striking effect. The deep blue of the Madonna's mantle offers a rich contrast to the red of her tunic; the red, in turn, lightens to a pale rose in the tunic's folds. The drapery provides the Madonna's body with volume and a sense of realistic three-dimensionality. the figure is set against an elaborate gold background, which serves to remind viewers that although the Mary depicted here is a suffering, human mother, she is also the Queen of Heaven.

The right side of the quattrafoil looks like it was added later (after it was cut from the crucifix?) This portion is darker. The punches on the original left side are finer and closer together than on the right side. The right side looks like a stuccoed gesso that was toned and chiselled out.

Close to Niccolo di Pietro Gerini (Suida, Fiocio, Berenson), pupil of Lorenzo Gerini (A. Venturi)
(illegible) cerint(?) School (Perkins), close to Giovanni del Biondo, (Longhi) c. 1380

Egg tempera

Sarah Allen and Julia Patzelt, Beyond Appearance: Constructing Likeness (Claremont: Pomona College Museum of Art, 2003), 17-18 (illustrated/ color).
V. Marle, 'Development of Italian Schools'- note 2 on p. 482--- Italian translation.

Kress Foundation (K1160) 1938-1961. Donated by the Kress Foundation to Pomona College in 1961.

Related Objects
A box of Xrays of the Kress Collection is on Shelf G in the Vault (6/5/2018).

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  • Sight Dimensions: 19 3/8 x 19 5/8 in. (49.21 x 49.85 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen
  • Frame Dimensions: 27 1/2 x 27 1/2 in. (69.85 x 69.85 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen

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Your current search criteria is: Keyword is "ICX" and [Object]Period is "Medieval (5th-15th century)".

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