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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints and Angels

Francesco Botticini (Francesco di Giovanni) (Italian, Florentine, ca. 1446–1497)
Tempera on wood
Arched top, 110 1/2 x 69 in. (280.7 x 175.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of George R. Hann, in memory of his mother, Annie Sykes Hann, 1961
Accession Number:
Not on view
Botticini practiced an eclectic style, influenced successively by Verrocchio and Botticelli. In the present painting the two angels drawing back the curtains depend from those in the altarpiece painted by Botticelli in 1483 for San Barnaba in Florence and now in the Uffizi. Painted for the church of the Servi at Fucecchio (near Empoli), this altarpiece was later in the Collegiata. The frame, though old, is not original.
Inscription: Inscribed: (left, on border of Madonna's robe) AVEMARIAGRAZIA PRENA DOM[VS?]; (on hem of Madonna's robe) ·INMVLIERIBVS·EBEN EDITVS· FRVTVS· (Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord [is with thee, blessed art thou] among women, and blessed is the fruit [of thy womb])
Compagnia della Vergine, Fucecchio (until 1790); Collegiata di San Giovanni Battista, Fucecchio (1790–1857; sold together with another work for 800 scudi to Toscanelli); Cav. Giuseppe Toscanelli, Pisa (1857–83; cat., 1883, pl. XVIIb, as by Domenico Ghirlandaio; his sale, Sambon's, Florence, April 9–23, 1883, no. 77, as by Domenico Ghirlandaio); [Riblet, Florence, 1883–about 1886]; [art dealer, London, until mid-1930s; sold to Hamilton]; Carl W. Hamilton, New York (until 1942; sold to Hann); George R. Hann, Sewickley, Pa. (1942–61)
Greensburg, Pa. Westmoreland County Museum of Art. "Christmas Exhibition: Madonnas and Saints from the George R. Hann Collection," December 16, 1959–January 31, 1960, no. 5.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Florentine Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum," June 15–August 15, 1971, no catalogue.

Compagnia della Vergine. Contract. July 11, 1493, cc. 13v–14r [Archivio della Collegiata di San Giovanni Battista di Fucecchio, V. VIII, 2; published in Villani 1992], commissions this altarpiece from Francesco Botticini for 80 gold florins.

Alessandro Masini. Relazione delle pitture. Nota di tutte le chiese . . . compagnie soppresse e altre chiese di tutta la diocesi di San Miniato. [ca. 1785–87], under no. II [Archivio di Stato di Firenze, Compagnie Religiose Soppresse, San Miniato, A CCLXIX, n. 20, fascicolo G; published in Ref. Villani 1988], records it as still in the Compagnia della Vergine (here called della Croce), Fucecchio, and attributes it to Ghirlandaio.

Gaetano Maria Rosati. Manuscript. 1856 [Archivio di Stato di Firenze, Capirotti di Finanza, 91, Galleria e Debito Pubblico, 1844–1859, Quadri della Collegiata di Fucecchio, 1856; see Ref. Villani 1992], proposes selling it together with a Stigmatization of Saint Francis for 800 scudi to Giuseppe Toscanelli.

Collection Toscanelli: Album contenant la reproduction des tableaux et meubles anciens. [1883?], pl. XVIIb, attributes it to Domenico Ghirlandaio.

W[ilhelm]. [von] Bode. "Die Ausbeute aus den Magazinen der königlichen Gemäldegalerie zu Berlin." Jahrbuch der königlich Preussischen Kunstsammlungen 7 (1886), p. 235, attributes it to the Master of the Rossi altarpiece.

W[ilhelm]. [von] Bode. "La reniassance au musée de Berlin (4e article): Les peintres florentins du XVe siècle." Gazette des beaux-arts, 2nd ser., 37 (June 1888), p. 480.

Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. Vol. 13, The Renaissance Painters of Florence in the 15th Century: The Third Generation. The Hague, 1931, p. 416 n. 1, lists it among works by Botticini.

George M. Richter. Letter to Carl W. Hamilton. July 24, 1940, attributes it to Botticini and notes its connection with Botticelli's San Barnaba altarpiece of 1483 (Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence).

Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Florentine School. London, 1963, vol. 1, p. 41; vol. 2, pl. 1059, lists it among works by Botticini, dating it 1470–75; erroneously calls it "homeless".

Mina Bacci. Piero di Cosimo. Milan, 1966, p. 117, tentatively attributes it to an anonymous artist she calls the Master of the Adorations.

Everett Fahy. "Some Early Italian Pictures in the Gambier-Parry Collection." Burlington Magazine 109 (March 1967), p. 137 n. 35, rejects Bacci's [see Ref. 1966] attribution and calls it an autograph work by Botticini.

Herbert Friedmann. "Footnotes to the Painted Page: The Iconography of an Altarpiece by Botticini." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 28 (Summer 1969), pp. 1–17, figs. 1, 7, 9, 11, 15, 21, 22 (overall and details), ill. on cover (color detail), accepts the attribution to Botticini and discusses the iconography.

Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Florentine School. New York, 1971, p. 126, ill. p. 127, consider it among the best examples of Botticini's advanced period, and note the influence of Castagno, the Pollaiuolos, and Botticelli; date it to about the middle of the 1480s.

Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 35, 326, 372, 378, 396, 450, 609.

Anthony M. Clark in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1965–1975. New York, 1975, p. 78, ill., states that it "was apparently painted for Ss. Annunziata, Florence, about 1485".

Anna Padoa Rizzo. "Per Francesco Botticini." Antichità viva 15 (September–October 1976), p. 18 n. 44, as a late work by Botticini.

Mirella Levi d'Ancona. The Garden of the Renaissance: Botanical Symbolism in Italian Painting. Florence, 1977, pp. 135, 541, discusses the botanical iconography.

Roberta Roani Villani. "'Relazione delle pitture': contributo alla conoscenza del patrimonio artistico della Diocesi di San Miniato." Erba d'Arno no. 32–33 (Spring–Summer 1988), pp. 6, 12, 32–33 n. 4, pl. 4, publishes the report of Alessandro Masini [see Ref. n.d.] who records it as still in its original location shortly after the suppression of the Compagnia.

Paola Richetti. "Fra Valdarno e Valdelsa. Cenni pertinenti alla produzione artistica nel XV secolo." Il 'Maestro di San Miniato'. Ed. Gigetta Dalli Regoli. Pisa, 1988, p. 145 n. 18, fig. 98.

Roberta Roani Villani. "Il contratto di allogagione a Francesco Botticini della pala con la 'Vergine e Santi' del Metropolitan Museum di New York." Studi di storia dell'arte 3 (1992), pp. 251–54, fig. 1, publishes the contract between the Compagnia della Vergine of Fucecchio and Francesco Botticini [see Ref. 1493], stating that the altarpiece was probably completed by 1495; notes that the assets of the Compagnia passed into the nearby Collegiata di San Giovanni Battista in 1790, and cites documents related to the sale of the altarpiece to Giuseppe Toscanelli [see Ref. Rosati 1856].

Lisa Venturini in Maestri e botteghe: pittura a Firenze alla fine del Quattrocento. Ed. Mina Gregori et al. Exh. cat., Palazzo Strozzi, Florence. Milan, 1992, pp. 102, 245.

André Chastel. La pala, ou le retable italien des origines à 1500. Paris, 1993, pp. 160–61, 273, no. 43, ill. (color, overall and detail), apparently unaware of the 1493 Botticini contract [see Ref.], dates it about 1475 and suggests that it was made for a convent of Sylvestrine nuns.

Lisa Venturini. Francesco Botticini. Florence, 1994, pp. 10, 14–15, 81, 83, 128–29, 223, no. 83, fig. 124, dates it 1492–95.

Anna Padoa Rizzo in The Dictionary of Art. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 4, New York, 1996, p. 506.

Jennifer Sliwka. Visions of Paradise: Botticini's Palmieri Altarpiece. Exh. cat., National Gallery. London, 2015, pp. 92–93.

The saints are (from left to right): Benedict, Francis, Sylvester, and Anthony Abbot.
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