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Madonna and Child
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Madonna and Child

Description Conservation Provenance Credit
Description In this intimate image for a domestic interior, the Madonna is represented as a humble mother with her breast exposed, ready to nurse the Christ Child. She gazes downward with a melancholic expression, as if aware of her son's future death at the crucifixion. Around Christ's neck hangs a rosary punctuated with coral beads, linking the painted image with the personal prayers that would be said before it. . The painting is a characteristic work by Bernardino Zenale, one of the foremost artists in Milan at the turn of the 15th century. Active as an architect as well as a painter, Zenale trained in the workshop of Vincenzo Foppa (see Walters 37.706) and later became acquainted with Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). Leonardo’s influence is visible in the Walters’ panel in the dark background which appears to envelop of the figures in a thick “sfumato” (Italian for “smoky”), a manner of shading in which lights and darks are invisibly blurred for atmospheric effect. See for comparison Zenale's signed Altarpiece with the Circumcision of Christ in the Louvre Museum, Paris.
Date Description Narrative
6/22/1960Treatmentchemical analysis; cleaned; coated; reconstructed; varnish removed or reduced; x-ray
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [1897 catalogue: no. 227, as Bernardino Luini]; 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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ca. 1510 (Renaissance)
oil on wood panel
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
Painted surface H including modern inserts on both sides: 15 7/8 x W: 23 1/4 x D: 3/8 in. (40.3 x 59 x 1 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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