Madonna and Child with Angels

Sassetta (Stefano di Giovanni) Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 603

Sassetta worked for a wealthy clientele, executing a limited number of paintings that focus on material splendor and refined detail. The glittering effect created by his technique of scratching into the painted surface to reveal the gold layer beneath—seen in passages like the angels’ wings and garments—would have been enhanced when viewed by candlelight. In this small domestic altarpiece, the Virgin is shown at once humble and exalted as she sits on the floor while angels crown her Queen of Heaven. Her delicate, idealized features are characteristic of Sassetta’s work, as is the emphasis on painting in transparent layers over the gold background.

Madonna and Child with Angels, Sassetta (Stefano di Giovanni) (Italian, Siena or Cortona ca. 1400–1450 Siena), Tempera on wood, gold ground

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