Description The Madonna holds the Christ in a tender embrace beneath a starry sky and before an elaborately-patterned gold cloth of honor hanging like a curtain behind them. The figures look down as if seeking direct eye contact with the devotees who would have originally knelt in prayer before the painting, presumably in their home. In representing the Christ Child nude, the artist is demonstrating his skill in depicting the human body while also alluding to the miracle of the Incarnation, or that God has become flesh and blood. The Master of the Castello Nativity is an anonymous mid-15th-century Florentine painter whose name derives from one of his largest surviving paintings, a panel of the “Nativity” formerly at the Medici family villa at Castello near Florence and now in that city's Accademia Gallery. The artist was an associate of Filippo Lippi (ca. 1406-69), who painted a very similar Madonna and Child in the Walters’ collection (37.429).
- An Exhibition of the Treasures of The Walters Art Gallery. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton; Pace Wildenstein Gallery, New York. 1967.
Provenance Arnold Seligmann, Rey and Co., Munich and New York [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [listed in Zeri as A. S. Drey of Munich and New York]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1924 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1924
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