Description The Virgin Mary was considered the divine protector of the city of Siena thanks to the popular belief that she guided the city to victory in a battle against its rival, Florence, in 1280. Images of the Madonna, often accompanied by the Christ Child, were therefore extremely popular in the homes of Sienese citizens, who viewed such images as expressions of devotion as well as civic pride. This example, painted by an anonymous Sienese artist in the late 1400s, also includes one of Siena’s most famous local saints, Bernardino (1380-1444), standing at the left with a small tablet decorated with rays of light and name of Jesus (suggestively hidden behind the head of Jesus himself). Bernardino used to present this tablet to the Sienese public during his famous sermons in the city's main square. At the right, Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) is shown holding a flame, a reference to the love of Christ that burned in his heart. Bernardino and Anthony were both members of the Franciscan of monks, suggesting that this painting may have been commissioned by someone affiliated with that order. The motif of the Madonna nursing the Christ Child—known as the “Virgo lactans” in Latin—stresses the Virgin’s role as mother and nurturer.
|3/30/1965||Treatment||cleaned; stabilized; loss compensation; coated|
- Déjà Vu? Recurrence. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2007-2008.
Provenance A. S. Drey, Munich and New York [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, between 1930 and 1931 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1930-1931
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