Ambrogio Lorenzetti (Italian, Siena, active 1319–47)
Tempera on wood, gold ground
Arched top, 37 x 22 1/8 in. (94 x 56.2 cm)
Bequest of George Blumenthal, 1941
Not on view
Inscription: Inscribed (on halos): AVE·MARIA·GRATIA; JESV CRIS[TVS]
Turbanti family, cappella di San Francesco, Pompana, Murlo, near Siena (by 1862–1922; inv., 1862, as Maniera di Ambrogio Lorenzetti; sold to Mazzoni); [Giuseppe Mazzoni, from 1922; ?sold to Blumenthal]; George Blumenthal, Paris and New York (by 1926–d. 1941; cat., vol. 1, 1926, pl. XVIII, as by Ambrogio Lorenzetti)
F. Brogi. Inventario generale degli oggetti d'arte della provincia di Siena. Siena, 1897, p. 381, under the section on the comune di Murlo, compiled in July 1862, describes the picture as on the altar of the chapel of San Francesco at Pompana, and calls it Manner of Ambrogio Lorenzetti.
F. Mason-Perkins. "La pittura alla mostra d'arte antica in Siena." Rassegna d'arte 4 (October 1904), pp. 189–90, states that he had seen it a few months earlier in the chapel of San Francesco at Pompana, and that it had undergone a recent, disastrous restoration; calls it a ruined but original late work by Ambrogio Lorenzetti.
Emil Jacobsen. Sienesische Meister des Trecento in der Gemäldegalerie zu Siena. Strasbourg, 1907, p. 40, notes Perkins's attribution [see Ref. 1904].
L[ouis]. Gielly. "Ambrogio Lorenzetti: II." Revue de l'art ancien et moderne 31 (January–June 1912), p. 148 n. 1, as in the chapel of San Francesco, Pompana; attributes it to Ambrogio Lorenzetti.
Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. Vol. 2, The Sienese School of the 14th Century. The Hague, 1924, p. 426 n. 1, cites Perkins's attribution [see Ref. 1904].
Stella Rubinstein-Bloch. Catalogue of the Collection of George and Florence Blumenthal. Vol. 1, Paintings—Early Schools. Paris, 1926, unpaginated, pl. XVIII.
Louis Gielly. Les primitifs siennois. Paris, 1926, p. 118, as at Pompana; as by Ambrogio.
F. Mason Perkins. "Two Unpublished Paintings by Ambrogio Lorenzetti." Art in America 16 (August 1928), pp. 204, 209–10, ill. p. 207, as having for several years been hung in the Blumenthals' house in Paris; as by Ambrogio; calls it probably the principal panel of a polyptych.
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 291, lists it as by Ambrogio.
Giulia Sinibaldi. I Lorenzetti. Florence, 1933, p. 201, as by Ambrogio; erroneously as still at Pompana; states that she has not seen it.
Raimond van Marle. Le scuole della pittura italiana. Vol. 2, La scuola senese del XIV secolo. The Hague, 1934, pp. 413, 455 n. 1, as in the Blumenthal collection, Paris (p. 413), and erroneously as still at Pompana (p. 455); dates it before 1331; compares it to two figures of saints in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena (nos. 52, 53), and to a Madonna then in the Lehman collection, New York (now El Paso Museum of Art, Kress collection).
Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 250.
Herbert Friedmann. The Symbolic Goldfinch: Its History and Significance in European Devotional Art. Washington, 1946, p. 153, lists it as by Ambrogio.
Carlo Volpe. "Ambrogio Lorenzetti e le congiunzioni fiorentine-senesi nel quarto decennio del Trecento." Paragone 2 (January 1951), pp. 42, 45, attributes it to Ambrogio and dates it between 1319 and 1331.
George Rowley. Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Princeton, 1958, vol. 1, 45–46; vol. 2, pls. 43, 44, attributes it to a follower of Ambrogio whom he calls the Pompana Master, and dates it to the late fourteenth century; identifies a picture formerly in the Lehman collection (now El Paso Museum of Art, not National Gallery of Art as Rowley states) as an earlier work by the same artist [see also Ref. Marle 1934].
Carlo Volpe. "Nuove proposte sui Lorenzetti." Arte antica e moderna 11 (July–September 1960), pp. 269–70, pl. 75a, rejects Rowley's attribution [see Ref. 1958], calling it a work by Ambrogio himself.
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Central Italian and North Italian Schools. London, 1968, vol. 1, p. 216, as by Ambrogio.
Enzo Carli. Pietro e Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Milan, 1971, p. 39, as by Ambrogio.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 109, 312, 608.
Piero Torriti. La Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena: I dipinti dal XII al XV secolo. Genoa, 1977, p. 120.
Mojmír S. Frinta. "The Quest for a Restorer's Shop of Beguiling Invention: Restorations and Forgeries in Italian Panel Painting." Art Bulletin 58 (March 1978), pp. 7, 10, 14, 19, 23, figs. 4 (overall), 32, 33 (details), calls the attribution to Ambrogio problematic; states that the tooling of the border and haloes is modern, made by a member of the circle of Ilicio Federico Joni.
Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sienese and Central Italian Schools. New York, 1980, pp. 29–30, pl. 15, identify it, despite its ruined condition, as a characteristic work by Ambrogio, dating it about 1330.
Monica Leoncini inLa pittura in Italia: il Duecento e il Trecento. Ed. Enrico Castelnuovo. revised and expanded ed. [Milan], 1986, vol. 2, p. 590, dates it between 1319 and 1332.
Mojmír S. Frinta. "Part I: Catalogue Raisonné of All Punch Shapes." Punched Decoration on Late Medieval Panel and Miniature Painting. Prague, 1998, pp. 97, 216, 265, 342, 370, 386, 450, 474, ill. pp. 216, 265, 342, 450 (details of punch marks), classifies the punch marks appearing in this painting, identifying several as modern imitations; attributes it to the workshop of Ambrogio Lorenzetti on p. 474.
Gianni Mazzoni. Quadri antichi del Novecento. Vicenza, 2001, pp. 51–52, 59 n. 13, pp. 238–39, publishes passages from Giuseppe Mazzoni's "Giornale dell'antiquario" describing his acquisition of this work from the Turbanti family of Pompana and its later sale in Paris; states that Federico Joni's collaborator Ferruccio Vannoni, a specialist in gilding, redid the gold background.
Michel Laclotte. "Observations on Some Polyptychs and 'Altaroli' by Ambrogio Lorenzetti." Italian Panel Painting of the Duecento and Trecento. Ed. Victor M. Schmidt. Washington, 2002, pp. 185, 189, calls it probably the central panel of a large altarpiece.
This work was probably the central panel of a polyptych.
Panel cradled with aluminum and impregnated with wax. The picture is a ruin. The background, except for an area bordering the left side of the Madonna's cloak, has been regessoed and regilt. The face of the Madonna is in a fair state, though marred by a major loss in her cheek and a smaller one to the left of her nose. The Child once held a bird (from Ref. Zeri and Gardner 1980).