National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Enthroned Madonna and Child Byzantine 13th Century (artist)
Enthroned Madonna and Child, 13th century
tempera on panel
overall: 130.7 x 77.1 cm (51 7/16 x 30 3/8 in.) painted surface: 124.8 x 70.8 cm (49 1/8 x 27 7/8 in.) framed: 130.5 x 77 x 6 cm (51 3/8 x 30 5/16 x 2 3/8 in.)
Gift of Mrs. Otto H. Kahn
1949.7.1
On View
From the Tour: Byzantine Art and Painting in Italy during the 1200s and 1300s
Object 1 of 8

Certain aspects of technique suggest that the artist who painted this panel was a Greek, trained as an icon painter. However, its blend of Byzantine and Western elements indicates that he was probably working in Italy or, at least, for a Western patron. The delicate gold striations defining the folds of cloth are a Byzantine convention, and the composition itself is closely modeled on one of the most enduring icon types, the Hodegetria—the Virgin who, by indicating the Child, “shows the way.” Yet Jesus gives the Western, not Eastern, sign of blessing, and the halos are not the plain burnished disks found in Byzantium but are decorated with the floral patterns popular in Italy. The three-dimensional view of the Virgin’s throne may also reflect Western influence. With her red shoes and the archangels’ imperial regalia, the elaborate throne underscores Mary’s role as queen of Heaven.

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