Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist and Saint Zenobius, c. 1395 - 1412

Tempera and tooled gold on panelexpand_more

Anonymous giftexpand_more  2021.130.1

The Italian painter Lorenzo di Niccolò was active in and around Florence at the beginning of the Renaissance. As artists began experimenting with new styles and media, Lorenzo favored a more conservative manner and sustained a fourteenth-century modes of representation into the fifteenth century. This panel painting depicts the Madonna and Christ Child enthroned and attended by angels and saints. Lorenzo shows Mary and the infant Christ oversized to signify their importance and divine status. The presence of Saint John the Baptist, the patron saint of Florence, and Saint Zenobius, the first bishop of Florence, suggests it was executed for a Florentine patron.

The gold border of the sumptuous red damask canopy suspended above Mary and Jesus and the golden haloes of all the figures are stamped with “punches,” or metal tools, a popular technique in Italian medieval panel painting. The richly patterned surface on the gold ground created a luminous, glittered effect, which was much enhanced in the candle-lit churches in which such pictures were originally displayed.

Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist and Saint Zenobius
Artist Life
1346 - 1410
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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