Fra Bartolomeo was among the most creative painters in late-fifteenth-century Florence. This work dates about 1497, before he joined the Dominican order. The lively play of hands and the elaborate configuration of the drapery recall the work of Leonardo da Vinci, while the treatment of light and background landscape also reveal a careful study of the work of Piero di Cosimo and of Netherlandish painting, much prized in Florence. Leonardo believed that a moderate light, falling gently through a window, produced the most beautiful effects.
Sandleford Priory, Newbury, Berkshire (until 1899; sale, Whiteley's, London, March 16, 1899, no. 384 or 390, both without attribution); [Dowdeswell & Dowdeswell, London, in 1900]; [Sedelmeyer, Paris, in 1902, as by Bugiardini]; [Eugène Fischhof, New York, until 1906; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Temporary Exhibition," April 1906, no. 1 (as by Giuliano Bugiardini).
Lexington, Va. Washington and Lee University. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art Loan Exhibit," October 30, 1950–January 15, 1951, no. 14 [this work remained on long-term loan to Washington and Lee University until February 14, 1952].
Westport, Conn. Westport Community Art Association. February 12–24, 1955, no catalogue? (as by Bugiardini).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Florentine Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum," June 15–August 15, 1971, no catalogue.
Florence. Palazzo Pitti and Museo di San Marco. "L'età di Savonarola: Fra Bartolomeo e la scuola di San Marco," April 25–July 28, 1996, no. 3.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Raphael at the Metropolitan: The Colonna Altarpiece," June 20–September 4, 2006, no. 28.
Florence. Palazzo Pitti, Galleria Palatina. "Firenze e gli antichi Paesi Bassi 1430–1530, dialoghi tra artisti: da Jan van Eyck a Ghirlandaio, da Memling a Raffaello . . .," June 20–October 26, 2008, no. 26.
Illustrated Catalogue of the Eighth Series of 100 Paintings by Old Masters. Paris, 1902, p. 70, no. 55, ill.
Bernhard Berenson. The Florentine Painters of the Renaissance. 3rd ed. New York, 1909, p. 125, tentatively lists it as by Bugiardini.
Adolfo Venturi. Storia dell'arte italiana. Vol. 9, part 1, La pittura del cinquecento. Milan, 1925, p. 426 n. 1, lists it as a work by Bugiardini.
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 227, lists it tentatively as a work of Ridolfo Ghirlandaio's early period.
Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 195.
F. Mason Perkins. Letter. March 24, 1938, rejects the attribution to Bugiardini.
Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, p. 63, ill., attributes it tentatively to Bugiardini; mentions that the smooth, hard finish recalls the style of Lorenzo di Credi, and that there is a painting with a similar composition attributed to Ridolfo Ghirlandaio in the Strossmayer Gallery, Agram, Yugoslavia.
S[ydney]. J. Freedberg. Painting of the High Renaissance in Rome and Florence. Cambridge, Mass., 1961, vol. 1, p. 76; vol. 2, pl. 71 [rev. ed., New York, 1985, vol. 1, p. 76; vol. 2, pl. 71], attributes it to Bugiardini and dates it about 1500, observing the influences of Domenico Ghirlandaio, Lorenzo di Credi, and Piero di Cosimo.
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Florentine School. London, 1963, vol. 1, p. 78.
Everett Fahy. Letter to Theodore Rousseau. January 4, 1966, suggests it is an early work by Fra Bartolomeo dating from about 1490.
Everett Fahy. "The Beginnings of Fra Bartolommeo." Burlington Magazine 108 (September 1966), p. 463 n. 22, calls it an early work by Fra Bartolomeo.
Gigetta Dalli Regoli. "Verifica di un'ipotesi (Credi, Granacci, Fra Bartolomeo)." Critica d'arte 33 (June 1968), pp. 20, 26, dates it right before 1500.
Everett Fahy. "The Earliest Works of Fra Bartolommeo." Art Bulletin 51 (June 1969), pp. 145–47, 152, figs. 8, 13 (overall and detail), calls it "one of the more important examples of Renaissance painting in America"; attributes it to Fra Bartolomeo and notes its similarities with Fra Bartolomeo's "Holy Family" (Galleria Borghese, Rome); discusses a sheet of preparatory drawings in the Uffizi related to the MMA work; calls it Fra Bartolomeo's version of Leonardo da Vinci's "Benois Madonna" (Hermitage, St. Petersburg); states that the window in the background comes from Hans Memling's "Virgin and Child with Two Angels" (Uffizi, Florence).
Calvin Tomkins. Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, p. 106 [rev., enl. ed., 1989].
Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Florentine School. New York, 1971, pp. 186–88, ill., call it probably an early work by Fra Bartolomeo, from the beginning of the 1490s; observe the influence of Domenico Ghirlandaio, Piero di Cosimo, and Leonardo; also note borrowings from Memling.
S. J. Freedberg. Painting in Italy: 1500 to 1600. Harmondsworth, England, 1971, p. 49, notes the connection with Leonardo's "Benois Madonna".
Denys Sutton, ed. Letters of Roger Fry. New York, 1972, vol. 1, pp. 25, 255 n. 1 to letter no. 177 (March 2, 1906), p. 259 n. 3 to letter no. 183 (March 1906), attributes it to Bugiardini; lists it among works included in the 1906 exhibition.
S[ilvia]. Meloni Trkulja inDizionario biografico degli italiani. Vol. 15, Rome, 1972, p. 16, calls it an early work by Bugiardini datable before 1505.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 17, 339, 605, as Attributed to Fra Bartolomeo.
Millard Meiss. "A New Monumental Painting by Filippino Lippi." Art Bulletin 55 (December 1973), p. 485, dates it about 1497.
Sheldon Grossman. "An Early Drawing by Fra Bartolommeo." Studies in the History of Art 6 (1974), pp. 9, 11 n. 12, pp. 15, 19, fig. 3, accepts Fahy's attribution to Fra Bartolomeo and says that it dates from before 1498; notes a similarity between John the Baptist's head and the head of a child in a silverpoint drawing attributed to Fra Bartolomeo (National Gallery of Art, Washington).
Ludovico Borgo. The Works of Mariotto Albertinelli. PhD diss., Harvard University. New York, 1976, pp. 34–39, 42–43, 48 n. 9, p. 73, fig. 81, identifies it as one of Fra Bartolomeo's earliest works, painted about 1494–95; mentions the copy in the Silka (formerly Strossmayer) Gallery in Zagreb, which was attributed by Frizzoni and Gamba to Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio; notes the modesty of the Virgin's clothing and attributes it to Savonarola's warnings to painters to depict the Virgin properly; argues that the painting is a synthesis of various styles grafted onto a Leonardesque base—a process that many fifteenth-century Florentine painters used.
Sylvia Hochfield. "Conservation: The Need is Urgent." Art News 75 (February 1976), p. 27.
Everett Fahy. Some Followers of Domenico Ghirlandajo. PhD diss., Harvard University. New York, 1976, pp. 54–59, 90 nn. 85–86, p. 91 n. 88, fig. 40.
Liana Castelfranchi Vegas. Italie et Flandres dans la peinture du XVe siècle. Milan, 1984, p. 226, fig. 132 [Italian ed., 1983], notes that the fact that the landscape is copied from Memling's "Virgin and Child with Two Angels" in the Uffizi demonstrates that the Memling must have had a long history in Florence [see Ref. Fahy 1969].
John Pope-Hennessy. "Roger Fry and The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Oxford, China, and Italy: Writings in Honour of Sir Harold Acton on his Eightieth Birthday. Ed. Edward Chaney and Neil Ritchie. London, 1984, p. 234.
Laura Pagnotta. Giuliano Bugiardini. Turin, 1987, p. 43, as by Fra Bartolomeo.
S. J. Freedberg. Painting in Italy 1500–1600. 3rd ed. New Haven, 1993, p. 84.
Michael Rohlmann. "Zitate flämischer Landschaftsmotive in Florentiner Quattrocentomalerei." Italienische Frührenaissance und nordeuropäisches Spätmittelalter: Kunst der frühen Neuzeit im europäischen Zusammenhang. Ed. Joachim Poeschke. Munich, 1993, pp. 238–39, 241, 244, fig. 20, lists it among seven works by Italian artists that borrow motifs from Memling's Pagagnotti altarpiece; notes that not only is the background landscape at right taken from Memling's Virgin and Child in the Uffizi, the background landscape at left is taken from Memling's panel depicting Saint Lawrence (National Gallery, London), which, with its companion panel depicting Saint John the Baptist, the author identifies as part of the same triptych as the Uffizi work.
Michael Rohlmann. Auftragskunst und Sammlerbild: Altniederländische Tafelmalerei im Florenz des Quattrocento. PhD diss., Universität Köln. Alfter, Germany, 1994, pp. 67–69, 145 n. 254.
Didier Martens. "Un triptyque mutilé de Hans Memling." Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 123 (January 1994), pp. 4, 12 n. 14, identifies Memling's panels depicting Saints John the Baptist and Lawrence (National Gallery, London) as the wings of his Uffizi Virgin and Child and notes that Fra Bartolomeo enlarged the water mill depicted in Memling's painting when he borrowed it for the MMA work.
Michael Rohlmann. "Memling's 'Pagagnotti Triptych'." Burlington Magazine 137 (July 1995), p. 439, fig. 18 (detail).
Charles S. Ellis. "Fra Bartolommeo, a Problematic Landscape Drawing, and the Repetition of the Painted Landscape Image." Paragone 46 (January 1995), pp. 5, 8, 12 n. 22, pl. 6, states that it served as the source for a tondo of the same subject attributed to Bugiardini (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin).
Everett Fahy inL'età di Savonarola: Fra Bartolomeo e la scuola di San Marco. Ed. Serena Padovani. Exh. cat., Palazzo Pitti, Florence. Venice, 1996, pp. 7–8, 53–54, no. 3, ill., maintains dating it after 1497 based on stylistic similarities with Fra Bartolomeo's Volterra "Annunciation"; suggests that Fra Bartolomeo would have seen Memling's Pagagnotti altarpiece (Uffizi, Florence, and National Gallery, London), from which he borrowed several motifs, in Benedetto Pagagnotti's living quarters at Santa Maria Novella in Florence around 1490; tentatively attributes to Fra Bartolomeo a silverpoint drawing in the British Museum, London (fig. 1), that includes a study of drapery in the upper right corner exactly corresponding to the drapery around the Madonna's waist in the MMA painting.
Ludovico Borgo and Margot Borgo inThe Dictionary of Art. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 3, New York, 1996, p. 303, ill., date it to the late 1490s.
Mary Sprinson de Jesús inFrom Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth and Keith Christiansen. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, p. 124, under no. 14.
Maryan W. Ainsworth. "A Meeting of Sacred and Secular Worlds." From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth and Keith Christiansen. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, p. 141.
Keith Christiansen. "The View from Italy." From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth and Keith Christiansen. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, pp. 56–57, ill. p. 38 (color detail), notes a similarity to a portrait by the Master of the St. Ursula Legend in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Lorne Campbell. National Gallery Catalogues: The Fifteenth Century Netherlandish Schools. London, 1998, p. 366, fig. 7.
David Alan Brown. Leonardo da Vinci: Origins of a Genius. New Haven, 1998, pp. 161–62, 213 nn. 78, 80, fig. 157, dates it to the mid-1490s; discusses the influence of Leonardo seen in this work.
Paula Nuttall. From Flanders to Florence: The Impact of Netherlandish Painting, 1400–1500. New Haven, 2004, pp. 133, 220, 281 n. 4, pls. 117, 122 (overall and detail), notes that the two landscape vignettes are taken from Memling's Pagagnotti triptych divided between the Uffizi and the National Gallery, London, and lists several other late fifteenth-century Florentine works that borrow details from the landscape background of the Memling; states that the setting in a corner of a room with windows on either side comes from the Master of the Saint Ursula Legend's portrait of Ludovico Portinari (Philadelphia Museum of Art) or a similar model.
Linda Wolk-Simon. "Raphael at the Metropolitan: The Colonna Altarpiece." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 63 (Spring 2006), pp. 72–73, no. 28, ill. (color).
Edith Gabrielli. Cosimo Rosselli: catalogo ragionato. Turin, 2007, p. 215, mentions it in connection with Cosimo Rosselli's "Visitation" (Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford), another work that she says borrows the motif of the mill from Memling's Pagagnotti altarpiece (Uffizi, Florence).
Maria Pace Marzocchi inAmico Aspertini, 1474–1552: artista bizzarro nell'età di Dürer e Raffaello. Ed. Andrea Emiliani and Daniela Scaglietti Kelescian. Exh. cat., Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna. Cinisello Balsamo (Milan), 2008, p. 128, under no. 23, dates it to the early 1490s.
Paula Nuttall inFirenze e gli antichi Paesi Bassi 1430–1530, dialoghi tra artisti: da Jan van Eyck a Ghirlandaio, da Memling a Raffaello . . . Ed. Bert W. Meijer. Exh. cat., Palazzo Pitti, Galleria Palatina, Florence. Livorno, 2008, p. 29.
Serena Padovani inFirenze e gli antichi Paesi Bassi 1430–1530, dialoghi tra artisti: da Jan van Eyck a Ghirlandaio, da Memling a Raffaello . . . Ed. Bert W. Meijer. Exh. cat., Palazzo Pitti, Galleria Palatina, Florence. Livorno, 2008, pp. 146–47, no. 26, ill. (color), mentions related drawings in the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Florence, the Royal Library, Windsor, and the British Museum, London.
Robert G. La France. Bachiacca: Artist of the Medici Court. Florence, 2008, pp. 52, 150.
Barbara G. Lane. Hans Memling: Master Painter in Fifteenth-Century Bruges. London, 2009, pp. 203, 211, 217 n. 46, figs. 161–62 (overall and detail).
Paula Nuttall inMemling: Rinascimento fiammingo. Ed. Till-Holger Borchert. Exh. cat., Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome. Milan, 2014, p. 44, fig. 5 (color), dates it about 1490.
The composition is based on Leonardo da Vinci's Benois Madonna (Hermitage, St. Petersburg). The landscape is taken from a triptych by Hans Memling (Uffizi, Florence, and National Gallery, London).
A copy after this picture is in the Strossmayer Gallery, Zagreb (64 x 48 cm).
Artist: Fra Bartolomeo (Bartolomeo di Paolo del Fattorino) (Italian, Florence 1473–1517 Florence)Date: 1472–1517Medium: Pen and brown ink (kneeling angel at left), faint black chalk (the hardly legible standing figure of the Virgin at right) (recto); faint view of buildings in pen and brown ink (verso)Accession: 23.280.7On view in:Not on view