Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Catherine and Jerome
Spanish Painter (mid-15th century)
Tempera, oil, and gold on wood
20 3/8 x 13 3/4 in. (51.8 x 34.9 cm)
The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931
Not on view
Michael Friedsam, New York (by 1927–d. 1931)
New York. F. Kleinberger Galleries. "Loan Exhibition of French Primitives and Objects of Art," October 17–November 12, 1927, no. 11 (as "The Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saint Jerome and a Woman Saint," by Jean Malouel, lent by Colonel M. Friedsam).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Michael Friedsam Collection," November 15, 1932–April 9, 1933, no catalogue.
Boston. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. "The Artistic Splendor of the Spanish Kingdoms: The Art of Fifteenth-Century Spain," January 13–April 7, 1996, no. 8 (as "Virgin and Child with Female Saint and St. Jerome," by an anonymous Andalusian Master).
Louis Réau inCatalogue of a Loan Exhibition of French Primitives. Exh. cat., New York. New York, 1927, p. 36, no. 11, ill. p. 37, attributes it to Jean Malouel and compares it to his Pietà [Louvre, Paris].
[O. von] F[alke]. and [A.L.] M[ayer]. "New York: Französische Primitive bei Kleinberger." Pantheon 1 (January 1928), p. 52, calls it in all likelihood Sevillian with a Burgundian influence.
Louis Réau in The Michael Friedsam Collection. [completed 1928], p. 166, attributes it to Jean Malouel.
Bryson Burroughs and Harry B. Wehle. "The Michael Friedsam Collection: Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27, section 2 (November 1932), p. 6, no. 2, ill. p. 7, as "Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Catherine and Jerome"; note that it could not have been executed until the 3rd quarter of the 15th century, but the artist was "still imbued with the outgrown tradition of an earlier time"; find Flemish, Italian, and Spanish influences that suggest this picture originated in Avignon.
Katharine Grant Sterne. "The French Primitives in the Friedsam Collection." Parnassus 4 (January 1932), p. 9, doubts the attribution to Malouel.
August L. Mayer. "Miscelánea." Revista española de arte 2 (June 1933), pp. 304–5, ill. p. 303, as definitely not French, although affinities with the school of Avignon can be seen; notes that various French influences were not unusual in Andalusian primitives; also sees Flemish influence in the small figures of the Annunciation which suggest an attribution to a follower of Juan Sánchez de Castro.
Chandler Rathfon Post. A History of Spanish Painting. Vol. 6, The Valencian School in the Late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance. Cambridge, Mass., 1935, part 2, pp. 646–47, 650–51, fig. 292, rejects Mayer's attribution [see Ref. 1933] to Juan Sánchez de Castro and tentatively attributes it to Juan Núñez; suggests that it once formed the center panel of a triptych and compares it to the Pietà by Núñez in the Cathedral of Seville; sees a Flemish influence in the figures; refers to the female saint as an "unidentified, canonized virgin" and remarks that the inclusion of St. Jerome wearing a Hieronymite monk's robe suggests it may come from the Sevillian Hieronymite monastery of Santiponce.
Fernand Mercier. Letter. September 21, 1936, attributes it to the Spanish school, noting Burgundian and Flemish influences.
Chandler Rathfon Post. Letter. November 18, 1939, as School of Seville, 2nd half of the 15th century.
Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, pp. 167–68, ill., as "Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saint Catherine (?) and Saint Jerome," by an unknown Sicilian Painter, mid-15th century; associates it with the international art of the Mediterrean basin; finds similarities with the works of Juan Rexach, Jacomart Baço, and the Catalan Master of Saint George, but cites several Sicilian paintings which seem "closer in spirit" to our picture.
Charles Jacques [Charles Sterling]. Les peintres du Moyen Age. Paris, 1941, p. 16, no. 26, dates it about 1440, based on the influence of Van Eyck; attributes it to either the Catalan or Valencien school, painted in Naples or Sicily.
Judith Berg Sobré in Judith Berg Sobré and Lynette M. F. Bosch. The Artistic Splendor of the Spanish Kingdoms: The Art of Fifteenth-Century Spain. Exh. cat., Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Boston, 1996, pp. 39–40, no. 8, ill. p. 41 (color), dates it about 1465 and attributes it to an anonymous Andalusian Master, noting that the brocade patterns in the background are typical of Andalusian painting during the 3rd quarter of the 15th century; sees this picture's small size as an indication that it was intended for private devotion; notes that although the robe, crown, and gesture of the female saint suggests Saint Catherine's "aristocratic station," she holds none of this saint's conventional attributes; comments on similarities with the "Virgin of the Rosary" by Juan Sánchez de Castro (Cathedral of Seville) and suggests a possible connection between St. Jerome's Hieronymite habit and the Hieronymite monastery of San Isidoro del Campo.
Enrique Valdivieso. Letter to Dulce Roman. September 10, 1997, attributes it to a member of the Sevillian school, perhaps an anonymous follower of Sánchez de Castro.
Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez. Letter to Dulce Roman. October 19, 1997, dates it 1440–50 and assigns it to the vicinity of León-Zamora; comments on its relationship to works from the circle of Nicolás Francés, but does not think it is from his hand; finds it especially close to an anonymous triptych of the Life of the Virgin from the convent of Zarzoso in Salamanca (private collection, Madrid; published by José Gudiol, "Archivo español de arte," vol. 43, 1970, pp. 321–27, ill.).
Once thought to be French or Italian in origin, this picture was first attributed to an anonymous Spanish artist in the early 1930s. Similarities with Flemish and Sicilian painting perhaps reflect the international influence of the Avignon school. It has been variously assigned to the regions of Andalusia, Catalonia, Seville, and Valencia. As Pérez Sánchez (1997) notes, the panel is especially close to a triptych of the Life of the Virgin in a private collection, Madrid, illustrated in José Gudiol, Archivo español de arte, vol. 43, 1970, pp. 321–27. The triptych is attributed by Gudiol to a "foreign" painter.