Description Against an extensive landscape featuring a hilltop monastery at the left and a bustling port town at the right, the Madonna, crowned as Queen of Heaven and carrying a string of prayer beads around her finger, lifts the infant Christ from a golden pillow and affectionately touches her cheek against his forehead. The Christ Child wears a necklace of coral, which according to Renaissance superstition had the ability to ward off evil. Rich in decorative flourishes, such as the gilt pastiglia (plaster built up on the surface to create three-dimensionality) in the Virgin’s crown and the tooled gold leaf in her robe and pillow, the painting was probably intended for private devotion in a domestic interior. It is one of few known works by Antonello da Serravalle, a native of Serravalle (present-day Vittorio Veneto) just north of Venice. Antonello’s existence was long known only from his signature on this painting (on the tiny scroll on the parapet in front of the Madonna) and a fresco, dated 1485, in the church of Sant’Andrea di Bigonzo in Serravalle. Recent research has shown that Antonello is the same artist as the "Antonio [a shorter version of Antonello] Zaco" who signed and dated a fresco in the nearby town of Sacile in 1498 and whose family originated from the city of Bergamo in the neighboring region of Lombardy.
|10/09/1964||Treatment||chemical analysis; cleaned; coated; infrared spectroscopy; inpainted; repaired; surface cleaned; varnish removed or reduced; x-ray|
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [1897 catalogue: no. 400, as Antonello da Messina]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Signature] On cartellino in foreground: ANTONELLVS | PINXIT
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902
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