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School of Barnaba da Modena



Madonna and Child, c. 1380
Tempera on panel
25 3/8 in. x 16 3/4 in. (64.45 cm. x 42.55 cm.)

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

Commentary
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.

Materials
Egg tempera

Attribution
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.

Provenance
Spink Collection (1924)
Kress Collection (K495)
National Gallery of Art, Washington (388)
Gift of the Kress Foundation, 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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For further inquiries, contact Associate Director/Registrar Steve Comba at steven.comba@pomona.edu.