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Kress Collection

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School of the Marches Artist



Madonna and Child Enthroned Between Saints Lucy and Eligius, c. 1400-1499
Tempera on panel
53 3/8 x 36 7/8 in. (135.57 x 93.66 cm)

Creation Place: Europe, Italian
Technique: Painting
Credit Line: Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961
Accession Number: P61.1.5

Commentary
In this image, the Madonna sits enthroned with the Christ Child, who stands on her right knee and plays with her gilded brooch. In the background, an angel gazes down on the pair while supporting a richly patterned curtain. Saint Lucy stands to the viewer's left, holding the oval mask that is the symbol of her martyrdom. Sain Eloi, a blacksmith, stands on the opposite side of the throne. He holds a single spike in one hand and an anvil, one of his saintly attributes, in the other. The text at the bottom of the work identifies the figures by name: Saint Lucy, Mary, and Saint Eloi.

The artist's careful manipulation of scale and compositional space draws our attention to the Virgin and Child, emphasizing their importance. Presented in hierarchical scale, the Madonna and Child are proportionally larger than the three subordinate figures; Christ, though infant, is nearly half the size of the adult saints. The placemnet of the two central figures on a raised dais, backed by the richly textured brocade, further focuses the composition and suggests a depth and substantiality that contrasts with the otherwise shallow picture space.

This painting is from the Marches, so the Adriatic. It was done by someone aware of what Gentile da Fabriano was doing a bit earlier. The Christ Child looks like he is wearing a flesh-colored body stocking; you see gathering lines and bends in his arms… He also wears a coral necklace to ward off evil. There is an elaborate Cloth of Honor behind the Virgin. Detail textiles were common in late-14th to early-15th century in the Marches, and Cloths of Honor also come up in Venetian work. The text at bottom identifies St. Lucy, the Virgin, and St. Eligius. The Virgin's halo also has text. The Virgin's clasp/brooch is pastiglia, a build up of gesso. Pastiglia was also used to create the top of the halos to create three dimensionality.

Attribution
Second attribution Maestro di Staffolo

Provenance
Platt Collection, Englewood, New Jersey. Acquired by the Kress Foundation (K1162) in 1939. Donatd by the Kress Foundation to tPomona College in 1961.

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

Bibliography
Pietro Zampetti, Italian Painting in the Marche (Firenze: Nardini Editore), 1988.

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Exhibition List
This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Dimensions
  • Sight Dimensions: 53 3/8 x 36 7/8 in. (135.57 x 93.66 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen
  • Frame Dimensions: 61 3/4 x 43 3/8 in. (156.85 x 110.17 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen

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For further inquiries, contact Associate Director/Registrar Steve Comba at steven.comba@pomona.edu.