The Mourning Madonna,
Tempera on panel
29 1/2 in. x 29 1/2 in. (74.93 cm. x 74.93 cm.)
Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961
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.
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
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.
Gift of the Kress Collection, 1961. Kress Collection- 1938- K1160
A box of Xrays of the Kress Collection is on Shelf G in the Vault (6/5/2018).
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