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Santa Francesca Romana Holding the Christ Child

Artist:
Antonio del Massaro da Viterbo (Italian, ca. 1450–ca. 1516)
Date:
ca. 1445
Medium:
Tempera on wood, gold ground, inscriptions on parchment laid down on wood
Dimensions:
21 3/4 x 14 7/8 in. (55.2 x 37.8 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
1975.1.101
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 959
Inscription: Inscribed with lines from Dante's Paradiso: (on Mary Magdalen's scroll) Vergine Madre, figlia del tuo figlio: humile et alta più che creatura, / [Termine] fisso d'etterno consiglo, Tu sei colei che l'humana natur. / Nobilitasti si che'l suo Fattore Non si sdegno di farsi tua factura Nel ventre tuo / si raccese l'amore: Per lo cui caldo nell'heterna pace: Cosi è germinato questo fiore. (Virgin mother, daughter of thy Son, humble and exalted more than any creature, fixed goal of the eternal counsel, thou art she who didst so ennoble human nature that its Maker did not disdain to become its creature. In thy womb was rekindled the Love under whose warmth this flower in the eternal peace has thus unfolded [33:1–9].); (on Virgin's scroll) Donna, sei tanto grande et tanto vali, Che qual vuol grazia, ed ad te non riccore: / Sya distanza vuol volar senza ale. La tua benignità non pur socorre: / A chi demanda: ma molto fiate Leberamente al dimandar preccorre. (Lady, thou art so great and so availest, that whoso would have grace and has not recourse to thee, his desire seeks to fly without wings. Thy loving-kindness not only succors him who asks, but oftentimes freely foreruns the asking [33:13–18].); (on angel's scroll) In te misericordia, in te pietate, / In te magnificenzia, in te saduna: / Quantunque in creatura e di bontate. (In thee is mercy, in thee pity, in thee munificence, in thee is found whatever of goodness is in any creature [33:19–21].) (Trans. Charles S. Singleton, Princeton University Press, 1975)
Santa Maria Nuova, Rome; Violet, Lady Melchett, London; Melchett sale, Sotheby's, London, March 6, lot 109A; Tómas Harris, London. Acquired by Robert Lehman after 1948.
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