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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.
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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mid 1400s (Renaissance)
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
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)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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