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School of Barnaba da Modena

Madonna and Child, c. 1380
Tempera on panel
20 3/4 x 12 3/16 in. (52.71 x 30.96 cm)

Creation Place: Europe, Italian
Technique: Painting
Credit Line: Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961
Accession Number: P61.1.6

The Christ Child in this painting of the Madonna and Child grasps his mother's dress with one hand, and, with the other, holds a scroll that reads "beati qui audiunt verbum Dei" ("Blessed are those who hear the word of the Lord"). A rich gold background adds to the splendor of the scene. Below, in a pseudo-predella, are five half-lenght figures. The Risen Savior stands in the center, with the Virgin Mary to His right. Next to Mary, Saint Anthony Abbot holds two of his saintly attributes, a T-shaped staff and what appears to be a book. Saint John the Evangelist stands to the left of the Savior, his hands folded in prayer. Next to Saint John is Saint Catherine of Siena with three symbols of her martyrdom--a wheel and the martyr's palm and crown. Stressing the formal symmetry within the work, the artist has placed Mary and Saint John on the inside, looking toward Christ with lowered heads, and Saints Anthony and Catherine on the outside, gazing away from Christ and out of the picture.

This is private devotional picture, but it packs in a whole wall. The painting has a discrete frame---a frame within a frame. It is interesting the way the halo of little Christ down below extends up into the space of the large Madonna and Child above. Left to right: St. Anthony Abbott, Virgin, Christ, St. John Evangelist, and St. Catherine of Sienna. There is text in the Madonna's halo: "AVE GRACIA PLEN" (Ave Sra Maria, full of grace).

Egg tempera

Attributed to Barnaba da Modena (act. ...-83) by A. Venturi, Suida, Fiocco, and Berenson.
Attributed to an anonymous artist close to Barnaba by Perkins and Longhi, who also see resemblances to Paolo Serafini.
Dated c. 1370-80 in National Gallery's catalogue of 1941.

Spink Collection 1924-1937. Samuel H. Kress Collection (K495) 1937. On loan from the Kress Collection to the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., 1939-1961. 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).

Clario Di Fabio, Barnaba da Modena a Genova: le icone con finta predella, 1/22/2011, page 433.
National Gallery of Art, Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture (Washington D.C., 1941).
Cicerone, June 1922, Heft II.

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  • Sight Dimensions: 20 3/4 x 12 3/16 in. (52.71 x 30.96 cm)
  • Frame Dimensions: 25 1/4 x 16 11/16 in. (64.14 x 42.39 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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