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);[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
Sirén, Osvald. "A Picture by Pietro Cavallini." The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 32 (1918): 44-47, pl. 1.
1921
Berenson, Bernard. "Due dipinti del decimosecondo secolo venuti da Costantinopoli." Dedalo 2 (1921): 284 (repro.), 285–286, 289, 292–304, repro. 300–301.
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
Mather, Frank Jewett. A History of Italian Painting. New York, 1923: repro. 13.
1924
Mayer, August L. "Correspondence." Art in America 12 (1924): 234-235.
1925
Busuioceanu, Alexandru. "Pietro Cavallini e la pittura romana del Duecento e del Trecento." Ephemeris Dacoromana 3 (1925): 394.
1927
Toesca, Pietro. Il Medioevo. 2 vols. Storia dell’arte italiana, 1. Turin, 1927: 2:1035 n. 39.
1928
Cecchi, Emilio. Trecentisti senesi. Rome, 1928: 12, 125.
1930
Berenson, Bernard. Studies in Medieval Painting. New Haven, 1930: 4-16, figs. 1, 10, 11.
1930
Schweinfurth, Philipp. Geschichte der russischen Malerei im Mittelalter. The Hague, 1930: 377-379.
1931
Fry, Roger. "Mr Berenson on Medieval Painting." The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 58, no. 338 (1931): 245.
1932
Marle, Raimond van. Le scuole della pittura italiana. The Hague and Florence, 1932-1934: 1(1932):519, 522-523, 520 fig. 345.
1933
Lazarev, Viktor Nikitič. "Early Italo-Byzantine Painting in Sicily." The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 63 (1933): 283-284.
1934
Vavalà, Evelyn Sandberg. L’iconografia della Madonna col Bambino nella pittura italiana del Dugento. Siena, 1934: 44 no. 120, pl. 27a.
1935
D’Ancona, Paolo. Les primitifs italiens du XIe au XIIIe siècle. Paris, 1935: 46-47, fig. 17.
1935
Muratov, Pavel P., and Jean Chuzeville. La peinture byzantine. Paris, 1935: 137, pl. 193.
1936
Comstock, Helen. "A Dugento Panel at the Toledo Museum." Connoisseur 98 (1936): 231.
1936
Lazarev, Viktor Nikitič. "New Light on the Problem of the Pisan School." The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 68 (1936): 61-62.
1937
Lazarev, Viktor Nikitič. Istorija vizantijskoj živopisi: v druch tomach. Moscow, 1947-1948: 192, 351 n. 116.
1940
Rice, David Talbot. "Italian and Byzantine Painting in the Thirteenth Century." Apollo 31 (1940): 89-90.
1949
Garrison, Edward B. Italian Romanesque Panel Painting: An Illustrated Index. Florence, 1949: repro. 44.
1950
Comstock, Helen. "The Connoisseur in America." Connoisseur 126, no. 517 (1950): 52, repro. 53.
1951
Einstein, Lewis. Looking at Italian Pictures in the National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1951: 12-15, repro., as Enthroned Madonna and Child.
1954
Bettini, Sergio. "I mosaici dell’atrio di San Marco e il loro seguito." Arte veneta 8 (1954): 32, n. 6.
1956
Felicetti-Liebenfels, Walter. Geschichte der byzantinischen Ikonenmalerei. Olten, 1956: 61, pl. 64.
1956
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1956: 7, repro.
1957
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Comparisons in Art: A Companion to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. London, 1957 (reprinted 1959): 3-4, pl. 2
1958
Demus, Otto. "Die Entstehung des Paläologenstils in der Malerei." in Berichte zum XI Internationalen Byzantinisten-Kongress. Munich,1958: 16, 54-55.
1958
Demus, Otto. "Zwei Konstantinopler Marienikonen des 13. Jahrhunderts." Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinischen Gesellschaft 7 (1958): 87-104, figs. 1, 4.
1963
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 64, repro.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 21
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 14, repro.
1972
Fredericksen, Burton B., and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972: 230, 311, 647.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 50, repro.
1979
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. 2 vols. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1979: I:96-99, II:pl. 66
1982
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.
1982
Hoenigswald, Ann. "The 'Byzantine' Madonnas: Technical Investigation." Studies in the History of Art 12 (1982): 25+, repro.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 64, no. 1, color repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 23, repro.
1987
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+.
1992
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 10, repro.
1995
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.
1997
Cracraft, James. The Petrine Revolution in Russian Imagery, Chicago and London, 1997: no. 1, repro.
1997
Dini, Giulietta Chelazzi, Alessandro Angelini, and Bernardina Sani. Sienese Painting From Duccio to the Birth of the Baroque. New York: 1997: 26, 177 n. 16.
2000
Kirsh, Andrea, and Levenson, Rustin S. Seeing Through Paintings: Physical Examination in Art Historical Studies. Physical Examination in Art Historical Studies, vol. 1. New Haven, 2000: 179-180, fig. 188.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 4-5, no. 1, color repro.
2013
Harris, Neil. Capital Culture: J. Carter Brown, the National Gallery of Art, and the Reinvention of the Museum Experience. Chicago, 2013: 246, 250.

Technical Summary

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