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Head of the Madonna
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Head of the Madonna


Description Conservation Provenance Credit
Description This painting is the fragment of a fresco, a type of wall painting in which pigment is applied to plaster when it is still wet. It must have been part of a much larger composition that showed the Madonna in glory, probably holding the Christ Child and flanked by saints. Rays of light shining from the Madonna's mandorla (full-body halo) are still visible around her head. The fresco likely adorned the wall of a church or chapel that was later demolished. Formerly attributed to Alvaro Pirez (active 1411-34), a Portuguese painter who worked in Tuscany, the painting has recently been assigned to Giovanni da Riolo, a little-known painter who worked in his native region of Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy. The attribution to Giovanni is based on the fresco's presumed similarities to Giovanni's signed and dated (1433) polyptych at the Museo Diocesano, Imola.
Conservation
Date Description Narrative
2/07/1939Treatmentloss compensation; coated
Provenance [Said to have come from an oratory in the region of Florence]; Private collection, Florence, until 1911 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Balimore, after 1911 [mode of acquisition unknown] [through Berenson as agent (?)]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, after 1911

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Period
mid 1400s (Renaissance)
Medium
fresco
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
37.1057
Measurements
Plaster block H: 22 1/16 x W: 21 x D: 3 3/8 in. (56 x 53.3 x 8.6 cm); Pained surface approx. H: 19 11/16 x Approx. W: 18 7/8 in. (50 x 48 cm)
Geographies
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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