Verrocchio, a great sculptor, painter, and draftsman ran the most prestigious workshop of the last third of the fifteenth century in Florence. (Botticelli and the young Leonardo were among those associated with the shop.) This picture—of a type favored for private devotion—is of fine quality. Based on a design by Verrocchio, it dates about 1470. Although the left side of the Madonna's face is badly damaged, passages such as the Child's head convey the original quality of the painting.
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Title:Madonna and Child
Artist:Workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio (Italian, Florence 1435–1488 Venice)
Medium:Tempera and gold on wood
Dimensions:26 x 19 in. (66 x 48.3 cm)
Credit Line:Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913
Rev. Walter Davenport Bromley, Wootton Hall, Ashbourne, Derbyshire (acquired in Florence; until d. 1863; his estate sale, Christie's, London, June 12–13, 1863, no. 133, as by Pesellino, for £54.12.0 to Farquhar); Sir Walter Rockcliffe Farquhar, 3rd Baronet, London (1863–94; sale, Christie's, London, June 2, 1894, no. 143, as by Pesellino, for £451.10); Charles Butler, London (1894–d. 1910; his estate sale, Christie's, London, May 25–26, 1911, no. 108, as by Verrocchio, for £6,300 to Harvey for Colnaghi); [Colnaghi, London, from 1911]; [Otto Gutekunst, London]; [Dowdeswell & Dowdeswell, London, until 1912]; [Duveen, New York, 1912–13]; Benjamin Altman, New York (until d. 1913)
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Winter Exhibition," January 7–March 16, 1895, no. 147 (as by Andrea del Verrocchio, lent by Charles Butler).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art Treasures of the Metropolitan," November 7, 1952–September 7, 1953, no. 77 (as by Andrea del Verrocchio).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Florentine Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum," June 15–August 15, 1971, no catalogue.
THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT, BY TERMS OF ITS ACQUISITION BY THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART.
G[eorg]. Gronau. "Die 26. Winterausstellung der Londoner Royal Academy: Die italianischen Bilder." Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft 18 (1895), p. 228, as attributed to Verrocchio; considers it a variant of a well-known composition, finding it close to the Madonna and Child in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin (no. 108).
Hans Mackowsky. Verrocchio. Bielefeld, 1901, p. 84, notes that it has been attributed to Botticini and that it depends on Verrocchio's marble Madonna in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence
Bernhard Berenson. The Drawings of the Florentine Painters. London, 1903, vol. 1, p. 38, compares it to the Madonna and two Angels in the National Gallery, London, and to the Berlin Madonna (see Gronau 1895), arguing that the London painting was completed by Verrocchio and an assistant, whereas the panels in New York and Berlin exhibit "much less of Verrocchio," as they were executed "entirely" by a skilled member of his workshop.
Ernst Kühnel. Francesco Botticini. Strasbourg, 1906, p. 59, considers it Verrocchiesque, reminiscent of the Pollaiuolos.
"The Butler Pictures." Times (May 26, 1911), p. 14, reports that it sold for 6,000 guineas to Harvey, acting for Colnaghi, at the Butler sale; calls it very close to an altarpiece by Verrocchio in the Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence.
Bernard Berenson. Letter to Duveen. May 18, 1912, calls it an autograph work by Verrocchio.
Handbook of the Benjamin Altman Collection. New York, 1914, pp. 62–63, no. 41, as by Verrocchio; compares the Madonna to a drawing in the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.
Bryson Burroughs. Catalogue of Paintings. 2nd ed. New York, 1916, p. 308, as by Verrocchio.
Osvald Sirén. Leonardo da Vinci: The Artist and the Man. New Haven, 1916, ill. opp. p. 28, tentatively attributes it to Verrocchio.
Tancred Borenius. "A Picture From the School of Verrocchio." Burlington Magazine 30 (April 1917), p. 129, groups it with four similar pictures of the Madonna and Child (Berlin; London; Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt; and the Woodward collection, Farnham) that "must be placed in the immediate neighbourhood of Verrocchio".
Claude Phillips. "Florentine Painting Before 1500." Burlington Magazine 34 (June 1919), p. 216, states that it "might without temerity be ascribed to Verrocchio himself".
Bryson Burroughs. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Catalogue of Paintings. 6th ed. New York, 1922, p. 323, as attributed to Verrocchio.
François Monod. "La galerie Altman au Metropolitan Museum de New-York (1er article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 5th ser., 8 (September–October 1923), pp. 180–82, ill., ascribes it to the workshop of Verrocchio.
Handbook of the Benjamin Altman Collection. 2nd ed. New York, 1928, pp. 55–56, no. 26.
Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. Vol. 11, The Hague, 1929, pp. 525–26, fig. 325, attributes it to Verrocchio and says it shows "a more evolved technique" than the Berlin and Frankfurt Madonnas.
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 595, lists it as by Verrocchio.
Bernhard Degenhart. "Di alcuni problemi di sviluppo della pittura nella bottega del Verrocchio, di Leonardo e di Lorenzo di Credi." Rivista d'arte 14 (July–September 1932), pp. 268, 293–94, fig. 2, attributes it to Verrocchio and dates it about 1475.
Bernhard Degenhart. "Di alcuni problemi di sviluppo della pittura nella bottega del Verrocchio, di Leonardo e di Lorenzo di Credi." Rivista d'arte 14 (October–December 1932), p. 442.
Bernhard Berenson. "Verrocchio e Leonardo, Leonardo e Credi." Bollettino d'arte 27 (November 1933), pp. 196, 198, 202, 204, 210, fig. 1, attributes it to Verrocchio and dates it 1469.
Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti. "La giovinezza e lo svolgimento artistico di Domenico Ghirlandaio." L'arte 38 (May 1935), p. 195, dates it prior to 1470.
Aldo Bertini. "L'arte del Verrocchio." L'arte 38 (November 1935), p. 467 n. 1, attributes it to the school of Verrocchio.
Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 512.
Bernard Berenson. The Drawings of the Florentine Painters. amplified ed. Chicago, 1938, vol. 1, pp. 50–51, 54.
Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, pp. 45–46, ill., groups it with three similar pictures (two in Berlin and one in Frankfurt) related in style and composition to reliefs by Verrocchio in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence, comparing it to the earlier of these reliefs, dated before 1475.
Duveen Pictures in Public Collections of America. New York, 1941, unpaginated, no. 72, ill.
Richard C. Jebb. "The Classical Renaissance." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 5 (November 1946), p. 85, ill., attributes it to Verrocchio.
Art Treasures of the Metropolitan: A Selection from the European and Asiatic Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1952, p. 224, no. 77, colorpl. 77.
Josephine L. Allen and Elizabeth E. Gardner. A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 99.
Theodore Rousseau Jr. "A Guide to the Picture Galleries." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12, part 2 (January 1954), ill. p. 13.
Günter Passavant. Andrea del Verrocchio als Maler. Düsseldorf, 1959, pp. 152, 211 n. 373, fig. 96, attributes it to Verrocchio's workshop.
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Florentine School. London, 1963, vol. 1, p. 212.
G[ünter]. Passavant. Verrocchio: Sculptures, Paintings, and Drawings. London, 1969, pp. 206, 208, App. 32, ill., as by the "Studio of Verrocchio (Francesco Botticini?)".
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, pp. 151–53, ill., attribute it to the workshop of Verrocchio, dating it about 1470; find some aspects similar and others dissimilar to works attributed to Domenico Ghirlandaio in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and Musée du Louvre, Paris.
A[nna]. Padoa Rizzo inDizionario biografico degli italiani. Vol. 13, Rome, 1971, p. 454, attributes it to Botticini, noting the strong influence of Verrocchio.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 83, 210, 321, 606, as by Domenico Ghirlandaio or Attributed to Andrea del Verrocchio.
Rona Goffen. "Icon and Vision: Giovanni Bellini's Half-Length Madonnas." Art Bulletin 57 (December 1975), p. 500 n. 74.
Edward Fowles. Memories of Duveen Brothers. London, 1976, pp. 66, 78.
Anna Padoa Rizzo. "Per Francesco Botticini." Antichità viva 15 (September–October 1976), p. 16 n. 25.
David Robertson. Sir Charles Eastlake and the Victorian Art World. Princeton, 1978, p. 223, gives information about the Davenport Bromley, Farquhar, and Butler sales.
Hugh Brigstocke. Italian and Spanish Paintings in the National Gallery of Scotland. [Edinburgh], 1978, p. 189.
Francis Haskell. "Le problème des premières œuvres de Verrocchio." Revue de l'art no. 42 (1978), pp. 71, 76 n. 62, states that it could be by Botticini.
Everett Fahy. Letter to Keith Christiansen. November 25, 1980, believes it to be an early work by Botticini.
Eve Borsook. The Mural Painters of Tuscany: From Cimabue to Andrea del Sarto. Oxford, 1980, pp. 114–15 n. 14, compares the head of the Madonna to one in the Assumption of the Virgin fresco in the church of San Niccolò Oltrarno, Florence, here ascribed to an anonymous follower of Andrea del Castagno.
Mauro Natale. Museo Poldi Pezzoli: dipinti. Milan, 1982, p. 157, under no. 195, compares it to a Madonna and Child by Biagio d'Antonio; gives an incorrect accession number.
Colin Simpson. Artful Partners: Bernard Berenson and Joseph Duveen. New York, 1986, pp. 135–37, 299 [British ed., "The Partnership: The Secret Association of Bernard Berenson and Joseph Duveen," London, 1987].
Ronald G. Kecks. Madonna und Kind: Das häusliche Andachtsbild im Florenz des 15. Jahrhunderts. Berlin, 1988, pp. 64, 114, 132, 147, fig. 91, attributes it to Botticini.
Lisa Venturini. Francesco Botticini. Florence, 1994, p. 21 n. 63, assigns it to the workshop of Verrocchio and dates it to the 1460s.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 22, ill., attributes it to Workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio (possibly Francesco Botticini).
Yael Even inThe Dictionary of Art. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 32, New York, 1996, p. 365.
Roberta Bartoli. Biagio d'Antonio. Milan, 1999, pp. 198, 208.
Meryle Secrest. Duveen: A Life in Art. New York, 2004, pp. 114, 499.
Lisa Venturini. "'Benché si può dire Florentino, ch'è allevato qui': Il giovane Pietro Perugino a Firenze." Pietro Vannucci 'il Perugino': Atti del Convegno Internazionale di studio 25–28 ottobre 2000. Ed. Laura Teza and Mirko Santanicchia. Perugia, 2004, pp. 32, 38 n. 40, fig. 5.
Cornelia Syre inLeonardo da Vinci: "Die Madonna mit der Nelke". Ed. Cornelia Syre et al. Exh. cat., Alte Pinakothek. Munich, 2006, pp. 46, 58 n. 68, colorpl. 20, attributes it to an anonymous master in the workshop of Verrocchio and, with paintings in Berlin and Frankfurt, based on a lost work by Verrocchio.
Everett Fahy inFirenze e gli antichi Paesi Bassi 1430–1530, dialoghi tra artisti: da Jan van Eyck a Ghirlandaio, da Memling a Raffaello . . . Ed. Bert W. Meijer. Exh. cat., Palazzo Pitti, Galleria Palatina, Florence. Livorno, 2008, p. 171.
Property from the Estate of Giancarlo Baroni. Sotheby's, New York. January 29–30, 2013, p. 14, under no. 1.
Andrea Staderini. "La pala della Trinità di Pistoia di Francesco di Stefano, detto il Pesellino." Il museo e la città: vicende artistiche pistoiesi del Quattrocento. Pistoia, 2013, p. 64, fig. 26 (color).
Cecilia Martelli. Bartolomeo della Gatta: Pittore e miniatore tra Arezzo, Roma e Urbino. Florence, 2013, pp. 34, 92 nn. 29–30, fig. 8 (color).
Andrea Staderini inThe Alana Collection. Ed. Sonia Chiodo and Serena Padovani. Vol. 3, Italian Paintings from the 14th to 16th Century. Florence, 2014, p. 81.
Andreas Schumacher inFlorentiner Malerei, Alte Pinakothek: Die Gemälde des 14. bis 16. Jahrhunderts. Ed. Andreas Schumacher, Annette Kranz, and Annette Hojer. Berlin, 2017, p. 353, under no. 22.
Alessandro Angelini inVerrocchio: Master of Leonardo. Ed. Francesco Caglioti and Andrea De Marchi. Exh. cat., Palazzo Strozzi, Florence. Venice, 2019, p. 166, under no. 5.5, attributes it to Ghirlandaio and dates it about 1468–70; sees the influence of Baldovinetti in the landscape and the Madonna's hairstyle.
Caroline Elam. Roger Fry and Italian Art. London, 2019, p. 197 n. 15, calls it "the Verrocchiesque Butler Madonna".
Master Paintings Evening Sale. Sotheby's, New York. January 29, 2020, p. 34, under no. 8.
A late-fifteenth-century tabernacle frame, possibly Venetian, with gilt pastiglia (raised gesso) decoration, much repaired. The frame has some replacement pieces and lacks its base molding, which would have been considerably heavier.
This work may not be lent, by terms of its acquisition by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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Carlo Crivelli (Italian, Venice (?), active by 1457–died 1494/95 Ascoli Piceno)
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