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.


Marks and Labels



Said to have come from a church, or convent, in Calahorra (province of La Rioja, Spain);[1] (art market, Madrid), in 1912. (Herbert P. Weissberger, Madrid).[2] (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);[3] sold 26 November 1915 to (F. Kleinberger & Co., New York).[4] Otto Kahn [1867-1934], New York, by 1917;[5] by inheritance to his widow, Addie Wolff Kahn [d. 1949], New York;[6] gift 1949 to NGA.

Exhibition History
Loan Exhibition of Italian Primitives, F. Kleinberger Galleries, New York, 1917, no. 69, repro., as The Madonna and Child by Pietro Cavallini.
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.
Sirén, Osvald. "A Picture by Pietro Cavallini." The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 32 (1918): 44-47, pl. 1.
Berenson, Bernard. "Due dipinti del decimosecondo secolo venuti da Costantinopoli." Dedalo 2 (1921): 284 (repro.), 285–286, 289, 292–304, repro. 300–301.
Marle, Raimond van. La peinture Romaine au Moyen-Age. Strasbourg, 1921: 227-228, fig. 116.
Marle, Raimond van. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. 19 vols. The Hague, 1923-1938: 1(1923):502, 503, 505, fig. 291.
Mather, Frank Jewett. A History of Italian Painting. New York, 1923: repro. 13.
Mayer, August L. "Correspondence." Art in America 12 (1924): 234-235.
Busuioceanu, Alexandru. "Pietro Cavallini e la pittura romana del Duecento e del Trecento." Ephemeris Dacoromana 3 (1925): 394.
Toesca, Pietro. Il Medioevo. 2 vols. Storia dell’arte italiana, 1. Turin, 1927: 2:1035 n. 39.
Cecchi, Emilio. Trecentisti senesi. Rome, 1928: 12, 125.
Berenson, Bernard. Studies in Medieval Painting. New Haven, 1930: 4-16, figs. 1, 10, 11.
Schweinfurth, Philipp. Geschichte der russischen Malerei im Mittelalter. The Hague, 1930: 377-379.
Fry, Roger. "Mr Berenson on Medieval Painting." The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 58, no. 338 (1931): 245.
Marle, Raimond van. Le scuole della pittura italiana. 2 vols. The Hague and Florence, 1932-1934: 1(1932):519, 522-523, 520 fig. 345.
Lazarev, Viktor Nikitič. "Early Italo-Byzantine Painting in Sicily." The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 63 (1933): 283-284.
Sandberg-Vavalà, Evelyn. L’iconografia della Madonna col Bambino nella pittura italiana del Dugento. Siena, 1934: 44 no. 120, pl. 27a.
D’Ancona, Paolo. Les primitifs italiens du XIe au XIIIe siècle. Paris, 1935: 46-47, fig. 17.
Muratov, Pavel P., and Jean Chuzeville. La peinture byzantine. Paris, 1935: 137, pl. 193.
Comstock, Helen. "A Dugento Panel at the Toledo Museum." Connoisseur 98 (1936): 231.
Lazarev, Viktor Nikitič. "New Light on the Problem of the Pisan School." The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 68 (1936): 61-62.
Lazarev, Viktor Nikitič. Istorija vizantijskoj živopisi: v druch tomach. Moscow, 1947-1948: 192, 351 n. 116.
Rice, David Talbot. "Italian and Byzantine Painting in the Thirteenth Century." Apollo 31 (1940): 89-90.
Garrison, Edward B. Italian Romanesque Panel Painting: An Illustrated Index. Florence, 1949: repro. 44.
Comstock, Helen. "The Connoisseur in America." Connoisseur 126, no. 517 (1950): 52, repro. 53.
Einstein, Lewis. Looking at Italian Pictures in the National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1951: 12-15, repro., as Enthroned Madonna and Child.
Bettini, Sergio. "I mosaici dell’atrio di San Marco e il loro seguito." Arte veneta 8 (1954): 32, n. 6.
Felicetti-Liebenfels, Walter. Geschichte der byzantinischen Ikonenmalerei. Olten, 1956: 61, pl. 64.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1956: 7, repro.
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Comparisons in Art: A Companion to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. London, 1957 (reprinted 1959): 3-4, pl. 2.
Demus, Otto. "Die Entstehung des Paläologenstils in der Malerei." In Berichte zum XI Internationalen Byzantinisten-Kongress. Munich,1958: 16, 54-55.
Demus, Otto. "Zwei Konstantinopler Marienikonen des 13. Jahrhunderts." Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinischen Gesellschaft 7 (1958): 87-104, figs. 1, 4.
Lazarev, Viktor Nikitič. "Constantinopoli e le scuole nazionali alla luce di nuove scoperte." Arte veneta 13-14 (1959-1960): 11-13, figs. 4, 5.
Swoboda, Karl Maria. "In den Jahren 1950 bis 1961 erschienene Werke zur byzantinischen und weiteren ostchristlichen Kunst." Kunstgeschichtliche Anzeigen 5 (1961-1962): 148.
Bologna, Ferdinando. La pittura italiana delle origini. Rome, 1962: 80-81.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 64, repro.
Pallucchini, Rodolfo, ed. La pittura veneziana del Trecento. Venice, 1964: 71-72.
Calì, Maria. "L’arte in Puglia." Arte antica e moderna 15 (1965): 389.
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 21.
Stubblebine, James H. "Two Byzantine Madonnas from Calahorra, Spain." The Art Bulletin 48 (1966): 379-381, figs. 1, 4, 8, 9.
Lazarev, Viktor Nikitič. Storia della pittura bizantina. Turin, 1967: 318-319, 347 n. 177.
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 14, repro.
Rice, David Talbot. Byzantine Painting: The Last Phase. London, 1968: 55, pl. 67.
Bologna, Ferdinando. I pittori alla corte angioina di Napoli, 1266-1414, e un riesame dell’arte nell’età fridericiana. Rome, 1969: 22, 354.
Beckwith, John. Early Christian and Byzantine Art. The Pelican History of Art. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1970: 140.
Demus, Otto. Byzantine Art and the West. New York, 1970: 216-218, 251 n. 147, fig. 237.
Fredericksen, Burton B., and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972: 230, 311, 647.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 50, repro.
Stoichita, Victor Ieronim. Ucenicia lui Duccio di Buoninsegna. Bucharest, 1976: 30-34, 149-150.
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. Washington, 1979: 1:96-99; 2:pl. 66.
Belting, Hans. "Introduzione." In Il medio oriente e l’occidente nell’arte del XIII secolo, Atti del XXIV congresso internazionale di storia dell’arte, September 10-18, 1979. Edited by Hans Belting. Bologna, 1982: 4-5, 9 n. 19, pl. 9.
Belting, Hans. "The 'Byzantine' Madonnas: New Facts about Their Italian Origin and Some Observations on Duccio." Studies in the History of Art 12 (1982): 8ff, repro.
Hoenigswald, Ann. "The 'Byzantine' Madonnas: Technical Investigation." Studies in the History of Art 12 (1982): 25-31, figs. 3 (X-radiograph), 4 (detail), 5 (photomicrograph detail),
Os, Hendrik W. van. Sienese Altarpieces 1215-1460. Form, Content, Function. 2 vols. Groningen, 1984-1990: 1(1984):23, 26, fig. 22.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 64, no. 1, color repro.
Corrie, Rebecca W. "Tuscan Madonnas and Byzantine Masters." In Abstracts and Program Statements for Art History Sessions: Seventy-Third Annual Meeting, College Art Association of America, February 14-16, 1985. Los Angeles, 1985: 46.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 23, repro.
Leone De Castris, Pierluigi. "Pittura del Duecento e del Trecento a Napoli e nel Meridione." In La Pittura in Italia. Il Duecento e il Trecento. Edited by Enrico Castelnuovo. 2 vols. Milan, 1986: 2:463.
Folda, Jaroslav. "The Kahn and Mellon Madonnas: Icons or Altarpieces?" In Research Reports and Record of Activities, National Gallery of Art, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, 7 (1987): 57+.
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.
Campagna Cicala, Francesca. "Messina. Scultura, pittura, miniatura e arti suntuarie." In Enciclopedia dell’arte medievale. Edited by Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana. 12 vols. Rome, 1991-2002: 8(1997):353.
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Pace, Valentino. "Dieci secoli di affreschi e mosaici romani: osservazioni sulla mostra ‘Fragmenta picta’." Bollettino d’arte 76 (1991): 204-205, fig. 9.
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 10, repro.
Di Dario Guida, Maria Pia. Icone di Calabria e altre icone meridionali. 2nd ed. Messina, 1993: 111 (repro.), 119, 121.
Folda, Jaroslav. "The Kahn and Mellon Madonnas: Icon or Altarpiece?" In Byzantine East, Latin West. Art-Historical Studies in Honor of Kurt Weitzmann. Princeton, 1995: 501+, repro.
Weyl Carr, Annemarie. "Byzantines and Italians on Cyprus: Images of Art." Dumbarton Oaks Papers 49 (1995): 352 n. 71.
Gordon, Dillian. “Duccio (di Buoninsegna).” In The Dictionary of Art. Edited by Jane Turner. 34 vols. New York and London, 1996: 9:341.
Schmidt, Victor M. "Die Funktionen der Tafelbilder mit der thronenden Madonna in der Malerei des Duecento." Mededelingen van het Nederlands Instituut te Rome 55 (1996): 60-63, fig. 15.
Chelazzi Dini, Giulietta, Alessandro Angelini, and Bernardina Sani. Sienese Painting From Duccio to the Birth of the Baroque. New York: 1997: 26, 177 n. 16.
Cracraft, James. The Petrine Revolution in Russian Imagery, Chicago and London, 1997: no. 1, repro.
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.
Maginnis, Hayden B. J. Painting in the Age of Giotto: A Historical Reevaluation. University Park, PA, 1997: 77, fig. 5.
Martin, Frank, and Gerhard Ruf. Die Glasmalereien von San Francesco in Assisi: Entstehung und Entwicklung einer Gattung in Italien. Regensburg, 1997: 70 n. 33, 72 n. 142.
Bellosi, Luciano. Cimabue. Edited by Giovanna Ragionieri. 1st ed. Milan, 1998: 58-59 (repro.), 62 n. 19, 63 n. 22.
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.
Polzer, Joseph. "Some Byzantine and Byzantinising Madonnas Painted During the Later Middle Ages, 2." Arte cristiana 87 (1999): 167-182, figs. 11, 24.
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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,
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.
Evans, Helen C., ed. Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1557). Exh. cat. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. New Haven, 2004: 476-477, repro.
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 4-5, no. 1, color repro.
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.
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Herbert, Lynley Anne. "Duccio di Buoninsegna: Icon of Painters, or Painter of “Icons"?." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Delaware, Newark, 2006: 11, fig. 6.
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.
Technical Summary