Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Nativity

Bernardino Fungai (Italian, Sienese, 1460–1516 or later)
probably after 1500
Oil and gold on wood
Overall 55 3/8 x 40 1/2 in. (140.7 x 102.9 cm); painted surface 54 7/8 x 39 3/4 in. (139.4 x 101 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1926
Accession Number:
Not on view
Fungai's mature style reflects his awareness of the work of Umbrian artists active in Siena in the last decade of the fifteenth century. The present picture seems to date after 1500 and repeats features of an altarpeice in the cathedral at Chiusi. The landscape, however, is more elaborate. A good deal of Fungai's work depends for its effect on his skillful handling of gilt ornament and delicately rendered details. In the present picture these passages have been sadly compromised by abrasion and over-cleaning.
[art dealer, Bassano, until 1923; sold to Sullivan]; James Amory Sullivan, Asolo, Italy, and Boston (1923–26; sold to MMA)
Bryson Burroughs. "The Madonna of Siena." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 21 (August 1926), pp. 192–93, ill. on cover, as by Fungai.

Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 211.

Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 182.

Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. Vol. 16, The Hague, 1937, p. 472, fig. 275, dates it between 1485 and 1500, and notes the influence of Pinturicchio.

F. Mason Perkins. Letter. March 24, 1938, writes that he first ascribed the picture to Fungai when it was in the Sullivan collection at Asolo [see Ex collections], and that it had until then been considered a North Italian work.

Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, pp. 98–99, ill., calls it "representative of the spacious later style of Fungai".

Pèleo Bacci. Bernardino Fungai, pittore senese (1460–1516). Siena, 1947, p. 6.

Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Central Italian and North Italian Schools. London, 1968, vol. 1, p. 151.

Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 76, 269, 606.

Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sienese and Central Italian Schools. New York, 1980, pp. 14–15, pl. 78, call it typical of Fungai's mature style; discuss related works by Fungai and sources for the composition in earlier Sienese prototypes.

Related Objects

Madonna and Child Enthroned

Artist: Carlo Crivelli (Italian, Venice (?), active by 1457–died 1495 Ascoli Piceno) Date: 1472 Medium: Tempera on wood, gold ground Accession: 1982.60.5 On view in:Gallery 537

The Marriage of the Virgin

Artist: Michelino da Besozzo (Michelino de Mulinari) (Italian, Lombardy, active 1388–1450) Date: ca. 1430 Medium: Tempera and gold on wood Accession: 43.98.7 On view in:Gallery 627

The Journey of the Magi

Artist: Sassetta (Stefano di Giovanni) (Italian, Siena or Cortona ca. 1400–1450 Siena) Date: ca. 1433–35 Medium: Tempera and gold on wood Accession: 43.98.1 On view in:Gallery 625

Saint Catherine of Siena Exchanging Her Heart with Christ

Artist: Giovanni di Paolo (Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia) (Italian, Siena 1398–1482 Siena) Medium: Tempera and gold on wood Accession: 1997.117.3 On view in:Gallery 625

Madonna and Child with Saints Philip and Agnes

Artist: Donato de' Bardi (Italian, Lombard, active by 1426–died 1450/51) Date: ca. 1425–30 Medium: Tempera on wood, gold ground Accession: 37.163.1–3 On view in:Gallery 627