Workshop of Sano di Pietro (Ansano di Pietro di Mencio) (Italian, Siena 1405–1481 Siena)
Tempera on wood, gold ground
Overall 24 7/8 x 17 5/8 in. (63.2 x 44.8 cm); painted surface 21 5/8 x 14 1/8 in. (54.9 x 35.9 cm)
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 956
With their faces gently pressed together, the interaction between the Virgin and Christ Child evokes a tender intimacy. This compositional motif appears in numerous works by Sano di Pietro and his workshop (for example, in another painting in the Lehman Collection, 1975.1.51). Sano was a popular and highly prolific Sienese painter and illuminator, whose workshop produced numerous devotional images of the Madonna and Child, frequently shown in bust-length. The close stylistic affinities between works attributed to Sano and the enigmatic Sienese artist known as the Osservanza Master may indicate that they represent a single artistic identity. It is also possible that the paintings attributed to the Osservanza Master are the product of a collaborative workshop to which these artists belonged. It has been suggested that the present panel may have been painted by one of Sano’s pupil’s, the Sienese artist Francesco di Giorgio, following the compositional model of his master.
Inscription: Inscribed: (on Madonna's halo) AVE.MARIA.GRACIA.PLENA.DO; (on Christ Child's halo) EGO.SVM.LVX.MV[NDI]
M. J. Homberg, Paris (sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, May 11, 1923, no. 34); M. Knoedler & Co., New York; Henry Ickelheimer, December 1923; Pauline Ickelheimer. Acquired by Robert Lehman in 1946.