The Madonna of Humility, the Annunciation, the Nativity, and the Pietà
Bartolomeo Vivarini (Italian, active Venice 1450–91)
Tempera and gold on wood
Central panel, overall 23 x 18 in. (58.4 x 45.7 cm); left panel, overall 22 3/8 x 9 1/2 in. (56.8 x 24.1 cm); right panel, overall 22 1/4 x 9 3/8 in. (56.5 x 23.8 cm);
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 954
The Vivarini were a family of Venetian painters whose prolific workshop specialized in large multi-tiered altarpieces for churches throughout the Veneto region. This relatively small triptych was likely intended for private devotion. The kneeling nun, dressed as a member of the Dominican Order, probably represents the patron. Bartolomeo’s debt to the Paduan master Andrea Mantegna is especially evident in the rendering of the landscape and the figure of the Madonna in the Nativity scene. Although the frame is not original, it conveys the decorative ornamentation typical of the Vivarini.
Earl of Wemyss, Gosford House, Longniddry, Scotland; bt. on commission by R. Langton Douglas, May 1916. Acquired by Philip Lehman in 1916.