Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels

Master of Varlungo Italian

Not on view

Painted about 1290, this charming painting is typical of the simply shaped panels that served as altarpieces before the advent of the multi-panel Gothic polyptych. The artist was a modest follower of Cimabue who, in his engaging way, attempts to keep pace with the innovations of Duccio and Giotto. The Child’s gesture—"as if he wanted to distract [his mother] from her melancholy" (Hans Belting)—occurs in French Gothic ivories and has "been transferred from the iconography of love to that of religious motifs." Another scholar notes that the artist’s work—populist in character—begs to be interpreted in human rather than purely artistic terms.

Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels, Master of Varlungo (Italian, Florentine, active ca. 1285–ca. 1310), Tempera on wood, silver ground

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