National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saint Peter and Saint Paul Domenico di Bartolo (artist)
Sienese, c. 1400 - 1447
Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saint Peter and Saint Paul, c. 1430
tempera (?) on panel
overall: 53 x 31 cm (20 7/8 x 12 3/16 in.) framed: 56.5 x 33.7 x 6 cm (22 1/4 x 13 1/4 x 2 3/8 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
1961.9.3
On View
From the Tour: Siena in the 1400s
Object 1 of 7

In the early 1400s, the Sienese artist most influenced by the new Florentine style of painting was Domenico di Bartolo. He was, in fact, the only Sienese painter of his day to receive commissions from Florentine clients.

This small panel is one of the first in Siena to reflect the innovations of the Florentine painter Masaccio. Masaccio used light and perspective to give his figures weight and three-dimensionality, a sense of being in a space rather than simply on a painted surface. Domenico lit his scene from a source that comes strongly and consistently from the upper left, giving his Virgin and child a tactile reality. Their halos, tilted in perspective, help define the space. So does the niche behind them, which is inspired by ancient architecture.

Domenico's use of light, perspective, and classical motifs suggest that he painted this after seeing the work of Masaccio and others in Florence. He is unlikely to have studied there, however; other elements of his work are typically Sienese, for example, the bright pastel pinks for the niche. Domenico's experiments were not taken up by his contemporaries, but they did influence artists in the next generation.

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