Overview

During the thirteenth century, the art of the Catholic West and Orthodox East intermingled, resulting in a Byzantine style in Italy. This icon or "holy image," probably painted by a Greek artist working in Italy, is a perfect example of this fusion. Known also as the "Kahn Madonna" from the name of the previous owner, the large panel represents a full-length figure of Mary enthroned as Queen of Heaven. She holds the infant Christ who, true to medieval convention, is a miniature adult. In the flanking medallions, archangels hold orbs and scepters, emphasizing Mary's imperial role. In this, the "Hodegetria" type of Madonna, she directs the viewer's attention to Christ, thus pointing the way to salvation.

There are distinct similarities in style and subject matter between this painting and the Byzantine icons painted in the East for the Greek Orthodox Church. The graceful movement of the figures, the gold striations on the drapery which simulate shimmering light, and the flowing, rhythmic lines identify the artist as a Greek painter. But an Italian influence is notable in the tooled decoration of the halos, the perspective of the wooden throne with its high back, the delicate gradations of light and shade, and the distinctly Tuscan scheme of the rectangular panel with a full-length depiction of the enthroned Virgin.

Inscription

Marks and Labels

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Provenance

Said to have come from a church, or convent, in Calahorra (province of La Rioja, Spain);[1] (Herbert P. Weissburger, Madrid), in 1912; (Emile Pares, Madrid, Paris, and New York); (his sale, Anderson Galleries, New York, 18-19 February 1915, 2nd day, no. 306, as by Giovanni Cimabue); (Emile Pares, Madrid, Paris, and New York);[2] sold 26 November 1915 to (F. Kleinberger & Co., New York).[3] Otto Kahn [1867-1934], New York, by 1917;[4] by inheritance to his widow, Addie Wolff Kahn [d. 1949], New York;[5] gift 1949 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1917
Loan Exhibition of Italian Primitives, F. Kleinberger Galleries, New York, 1917, no. 69, repro., as The Madonna and Child by Pietro Cavallini.

Bibliography

1917
Sirén, Osvald, and Maurice W. Brockwell. Catalogue of a Loan Exhibition of Italian Primitives. Exh. cat. F. Kleinberger Galleries. New York, 1917: 178, repro. 179.
1918
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1921
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1921
Marle, Raimond van. La peinture Romaine au Moyen-Age. Strasbourg, 1921: 227-228, fig. 116.
1923
Marle, Raimond van. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. 19 vols. The Hague, 1923-1938: 1(1923):502, 503, 505, fig. 291.
1923
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1924
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1925
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1927
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1928
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1930
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1930
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1931
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1932
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1933
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1934
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1935
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1935
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1936
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1936
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1937
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1940
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1949
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1950
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1951
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1954
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1956
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1956
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1957
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1958
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1958
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1959
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1961
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1962
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1963
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1964
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1965
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1965
_Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 21.
1966
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1967
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1968
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1968
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1969
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1970
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1970
Demus, Otto. Byzantine Art and the West. New York, 1970: 216-218, 251 n. 147, fig. 237.
1972
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1975
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1976
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1979
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1982
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1982
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1982
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1984
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1984
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1985
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1985
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1986
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1987
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1991
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1991
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1992
_National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 10, repro.
1993
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1995
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1995
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1996
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1996
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1997
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1997
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1997
Evans, Helen C., and William D. Wixom, eds. The Glory of Byzantium: Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era, A.D. 843-1261. Exh. cat. Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1997: 397.
1997
Maginnis, Hayden B. J. Painting in the Age of Giotto: A Historical Reevaluation. University Park, PA, 1997: 77, fig. 5.
1998
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1999
Lauria, Antonietta. "Una Madonna tardoduecentesca tra Roma e Assisi." in Arte d’Occidente: temi e metodi. Studi in onore di Angiola Maria Romanini. Edited by Antonio Cadei. 3 vols. Rome, 1999: 2:641-642.
1999
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2000
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2000
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2002
Folda, Jaroslav. "Icon to Altarpiece in the Frankish East: Images of the Virgin and Child Enthroned." In Italian Panel Painting of the Duecento and Trecento. Edited by Victor M. Schmidt. Studies in the History of Art 61 (2002): 127-129, 131-133, 139, fig. 4.
2002
Polzer, Joseph. "The ‘Byzantine’ Kahn and Mellon Madonnas: Concerning their Chronology, Place of Origin, and Method of Analysis." Arte cristiana 90 (2002): 401-410, repro. 402,
2003
Pasut, Francesca. A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting. Supplementary Volume. Vol. 2: Ornamental Painting in Italy (1250–1310). An Illustrated Index. Edited by Miklós Boskovits. Florence, 2003: 125 n. 20.
2004
Belting, Hans. Bild und Kult: eine Geschichte des Bildes vor dem Zeitalter der Kunst. Munich, 1990: 33, 415 pl. 8, 417, 419 fig. 225, 420.
2004
Evans, Helen C., ed. Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1557). Exh. cat. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. New Haven, 2004: 476-477, repro.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 4-5, no. 1, color repro.
2005
Corrie, Rebecca W. "The Khan and Mellon Madonnas and their Place in the History of the Virgin and Child Enthroned." In Images of the Mother of God: Perceptions of the Theotokos in Byzantium. Edited by Maria Vassilaki. Aldershot, UK and Burlington, VT, 2005: 293-300, pl. 20, fig. 24.1, fig. 24.3.
2005
Folda, Jaroslav. Crusader Art in the Holy Land: From the Third Crusade to the Fall of Acre, 1187-1291. New York, 2005: 457, 557, fig. 299.
2006
Herbert, Lynley Anne. "Duccio di Buoninsegna: Icon of Painters, or Painter of “Icons"?." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Delaware, Newark, 2006: 11, fig. 6.
2013
Harris, Neil. Capital Culture: J. Carter Brown, the National Gallery of Art, and the Reinvention of the Museum Experience. Chicago and London, 2013: 246, 250.

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