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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Madonna and Child with Two Angels

Vittore Crivelli (Italian, Venice, active by 1465–died 1501/2 Fermo)
ca. 1481–82
Tempera and gold on wood
21 7/8 x 16 in. (55.6 x 40.6 cm)
Credit Line:
The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 537
This charming Madonna and Child employs some of the same pictorial devices used by Vittore's brother Carlo, building up the gold to create three-dimensional embellishments. The parapet is inscribed with Vittore's name and on it are placed a carnation (emblem of love), cherries (like the apple, symbol of original sin), and a devotional book. The Child holds a goldfinch, symbolic of the Passion of Jesus.
Inscription: Signed (on ledge): OPVS VICTORIS·CRIVELLV·VENETI·
Robert H. and Evelyn Benson, London (acquired in Rome; by 1902–27; cat., 1914, no. 72; sold to Duveen); [Duveen, New York, 1927–29; sold to Kleinberger]; [Kleinberger, New York, 1929–33; sold to Duveen]; [Duveen, New York, 1933–about 1962]; Mr. and Mrs. Jack Linsky, New York (about 1962–his d. 1980); The Jack and Belle Linsky Foundation, New York (1980–82)
London. Burlington Fine Arts Club. "A Collection of Pictures, Drawings, Bronzes, and Decorative Furniture," 1902, no. 22 (lent by R. H. Benson).

London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Winter Exhibition," 1908, no. 22 (lent by R. H. Benson).

London. Burlington Fine Arts Club. "A Collection of Pictures of the Early Venetian School and Other Works of Art," 1912, no. 6 (lent by R. H. Benson).

Florence. Palazzo Strozzi. "2a Biennale," September 16–October 16, 1961, stand no. 108 (lent by Duveen Brothers).


Lionel Cust. "La collection de M. R.-H. Benson." Les arts 6 (October 1907), p. 3, ill. p. 2.

J[oseph]. A[rcher]. Crowe and G[iovanni]. B[attista]. Cavalcaselle. A History of Painting in North Italy: Venice, Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Ferrara, Milan, Friuli, Brescia, from the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century. Ed. Tancred Borenius. 2nd ed. [1st ed. 1871]. London, 1912, vol. 1, p. 98 n. 4, Borenius mentions it.

B. Geiger in Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Vol. 8, Leipzig, 1913, p. 137, confuses it with the Mylius picture [see Notes].

A[dolfo]. Venturi. "La pittura del Quattrocento." Storia dell'arte italiana. Vol. 7, part 3, Milan, 1914, p. 396, fig. 307.

Catalogue of Italian Pictures at 16, South Street, Park Lane, London and Buckhurst in Sussex collected by Robert and Evelyn Benson. London, 1914, pp. 141–42, no. 72, ill. opp. p. 141, notes its similarity to a Madonna by Vittore in the Szépmüvészeti Múzeum, Budapest [see Notes]; mentions that Benson bought the picture in Rome.

Laudedeo Testi. La storia della pittura veneziana. Vol. 2, Il divenire. Bergamo, 1915, p. 698, notes that while it is similar the picture formerly in the Gualandi and Mylius collections, the descriptions of the two works vary somewhat [see Notes].

Luigi Serra. L'arte nelle Marche. Vol. 2, Il periodo del rinascimento. Rome, 1934, p. 392.

Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. Vol. 18, The Renaissance Painters of Venice. The Hague, 1936, pp. 73, 75, 77 n. 1, fig. 47, notes that it was recently for sale in New York.

Robert Langton Douglas. "A Madonna by Vittorio Crivelli." Art in America 31 (January 1943), p. 31, ill. p. 28.

Herbert Friedmann. The Symbolic Goldfinch: Its History and Significance in European Devotional Art. Washington, 1946, p. 157, pl. 97.

Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School. London, 1957, vol. 1, p. 71, pl. 163, lists it as formerly in the Benson collection, London.

Federico Zeri. "Appunti nell'Ermitage e nel Museo Pusckin." Bollettino d'arte 46 (July–September 1961), p. 235 [reprinted in Federico Zeri, "Giorno per giorno nella pittura," (vol. 3), Turin, 1992, p. 176], calls it closely related to the Wilstach polyptych of 1481 (Philadelphia Museum of Art; made for the church of San Francesco, Fermo), the Blumenthal Madonna (MMA, 41.100.32), and the Budapest Madonna.

Luigi Dania. La pittura a Fermo e nel suo circondario. Fermo, 1968, p. 16.

Sandra di Provvido. La pittura di Vittore Crivelli. L'Aquila, 1972, pp. 79–80, 82, 84, 150, 283, pl. 13, finds it very close to the central panel of the Philadelphia polyptych.

Keith Christiansen in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1983–1984. New York, 1984, p. 47, ill.

Keith Christiansen in The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1984, pp. 32–34, no. 6, ill., believes that the motif of the two angels derives from the Philadelphia polyptych and that the two works are probably contemporary, dating them between 1481 and 1484.

Sandra di Provvido in Vittore Crivelli e la pittura del suo tempo nel Fermano. Ed. Stefano Papetti. Milan, 1997, pp. 207, 211, no. 16, ill. p. 211 and colorpl. XX.

Karen Serres. "Duveen's Italian Framemaker, Ferruccio Vannoni." Burlington Magazine 159 (May 2017), p. 372 n. 38.

The frame is twentieth-century, though based on Renaissance models, made in the workshop of Ferruccio Vannoni (1881–1965), who was extensively employed by the Duveen firm. (For Vannoni, see Karen Serres, “Duveen’s Italian Framemaker, Ferruccio Vannoni,” Burlington Magazine 159 (May 2017), pp. 366–74.)
This picture has been confused with one formerly in the collection of Michelangelo Gualandi, Bologna, described by Crowe and Cavalcaselle (in A History of Painting in Northern Italy, London, 1871, vol. 1, p. 97 n. 2) as having a red cloth of honor with a landscape to either side behind the Madonna and Child. The Gualandi picture can probably be identified with one now in the Szépmüvészeti Múzeum, Budapest (Pálffy Bequest, 1912), and also possibly with a work formerly in the collection of F. Mylius, Genoa (recorded by Borenius in the second edition of Crowe and Cavalcaselle, 1912, vol. 1, p. 97 n. 2).
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