Benvenuto di Giovanni (Italian, Siena 1436–after 1518 Siena)
Tempera on wood, gold ground
Overall 27 3/4 x 18 1/8 in. (70.5 x 46 cm); painted surface 24 1/4 x 14 3/4 in. (61.6 x 37.5 cm)
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 956
This resplendent and well-preserved panel portrays the Virgin handing the Christ Child a pomegranate, a symbol of the Resurrection. The painting may once have belonged by Pope Pius II Piccolomini, whose coat of arms is said to have formerly appeared on the back of the panel. The acorns, clustered beneath the frame’s scroll console, may be a heraldic allusion to Pius II. The important tabernacle frame may be contemporary and original to the panel. The candelabra-decorated pilasters are characteristic of Sienese frames of the period.
Inscription: Inscribed (on Madonna's halo): AVE.GRATIA.PLENA.DOM
Ernest Odiot, Paris (Catalogue des objets d'arte de M. Ernest Odiot, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, April 26-27, 1889, p. 30, no. 15, as 14th century Sienese school); M. Chabrières-Arlès, Oullin, nr. Lyon; Duveen Brothers, New York. Acquired by Philip Lehman in 1916.