Description The Madonna sits upon a marble throne comprising two columns surmounted by an arch. The throne is decorated with gold mosaics and elaborate floral motifs derived from the wall paintings in the Golden House of Nero in Rome. This ancient palace was excavated in the 1490s and subsequently became a major source of inspiration for artists. In his left hand the Christ Child holds a small apple, a reference to the forbidden fruit eaten by Adam and Eve. The painting's large size and damaged edges, which show evidence of having been cut, suggest it is a fragment from the center of an altarpiece. In its original state, it probably showed the Madonna and Child flanked by full-length standing saints. Giovanni Battista Bertucci worked primarily in his native Faenza in northern Italy during the early 1500s. The Walters picture, with its solemn, dignified figures and tranquil landscape, reflects Bertucci’s familiarity with the work of Perugino, active in the neighboring regions of Tuscany and Umbria. For an earlier work by Bertucci, see 37.479. For a “Madonna and Child” by Perugino, see 37.475.
Provenance Marquess Filippo Marignoli, Rome and Spoleto, until 1898 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Marquess Francesco Marignoli, 1898 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome, 1899 [mode of acquisition unknown] [1900 catalogue supplement: no. 54]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902
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