Wednesday, June 17, 2015

RELIGIOUS ART BY THE OLD MASTER PAINTERS - Paintings from the Bible! Matthias The Master of the Misericordia; THE MADONNA AND CHILD ENTHRONED

tempera on panel, gold ground, arched top
89.5 by 44.4 cm.; 35 1/4  by 17 1/2  in.

This unpublished tabernacle was painted by the as-yet anonymous Master of the Misericordia. The corpus of his work has been steadily amplified since Richard Offner identified a homogenous hand around a Madonna della Misericordia with Nuns in the Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence, and two predella panels which depict the Stories of Saint Eligius in the Prado, Madrid. His catalogue was later expanded by Miklós Boskovits, who placed the Master among the protagonists of Florentine painting of his day, and Sonia Chiodo, whose recent publication on the artist provides an invaluable analysis of his work.

The Christ Child’s pose, seen here with his right arm raised, is a direct echo of another autograph work by the Master in the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Parma. In the background of the Parma painting, like in the present work and another painting in a European private collection,4 an ornately brocaded red cloth adorns the Madonna’s throne. This interest in fine decoration is typical of mid-fourteenth-century Florence and is often found in works by Orcagna’s circle, particularly those of his brother Jacopo di Cione.