Description This small yet sumptuous panel of the Madonna and Child is rich in symbolism. The Christ Child holds a sheaf of wheat, symbolic of the Eucharistic bread eaten during the Catholic mass, which is in turn symbolic of Christ’s body. Delicately incised into the gold leaf background are the sun (left) and a crescent moon (right), both references to the “end of days” as told in the Book of Revelations. The sun and moon are also associated with the “Queen of the Apocalypse” from the Book of Revelations, a figure often equated with the Madonna. The Madonna’s roles as Queen of Heaven and Mother of God are respectively indicated by the crown held over her head by two angels and the inscription “Mater Dei” (Latin for “Mother of God”) in her halo. The griffin pattern in her robe may be an emblem of the individual who commissioned the painting. Traces of hinge marks on the edges of the panel indicate it originally had two side panels that folded over the Madonna and Child. The elegant, calligraphic folds of the draperies and the stylized features are hallmarks of the International Gothic style, of which Michele di Matteo was a major practitioner in his native Bologna during the early to mid-15th century. For another painting by Michele di Matteo at the Walters, see 37.738.
|1/01/1957||Treatment||coated; filled; inpainted; surface cleaned; varnish removed or reduced|
- The International Style: The Arts in Europe Around 1400. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1962.
Provenance Bernard Berenson [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1911 [mode of acquisition unknown] [through Berenson]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Transcription] In Virgin's halo: MATER.DOMINI (translation: Mother of God)
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1911
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