Overview

Giotto's explorations and innovations in art during the early fourteenth century developed, a full century later, into the Italian Renaissance. Besides making panel paintings, he executed many fresco cycles, the most famous at the Arena Chapel, Padua, and he also worked as an architect and sculptor.

Transformed by Giotto, the stylized figures in paintings such as the Enthroned Madonna and Child took on human, believable qualities. Whereas his Sienese contemporary Duccio concentrated on line, pattern, and shape arranged on a flat plane, the Florentine Giotto emphasized mass and volume, a classical approach to form. By giving his figures a blocky, corporeal character, the artist introduced great three-dimensional plasticity to painting.

Painted during the latter part of Giotto's career, the Madonna and Child was the central part of a five-section polyptych, or altarpiece in many panels. Giotto utilized a conservative Byzantine-style background in gold leaf, symbolizing the realm of heaven, and the white rose is a traditional symbol of Mary's purity as well as a reference to the innocence lost through Original Sin. Yet, the Madonna and Child introduces a new naturalistic trend in painting. Instead of making the blessing gesture of a philosopher, the infant Christ grasps his mother's left index finger in a typically babylike way as he playfully reaches for the flower that she holds.

Inscription

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

Probably commissioned for the church of Santa Croce or the church of Ognissanti, both Florence.[1] Edouard-Alexandre de Max [1869-1924], Paris;[2] sold 1917 to (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris); sold to Henry Goldman [1857-1937], New York, by 1920;[3] sold 1 February 1937 back to (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris);[4] sold 1939 to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York;[5] gift 1939 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1920
Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1920, unnumbered catalogue, as by Bernardo Daddi.
1924
Loan Exhibition of Important Early Italian Paintings in the Possession of Notable American Collectors, Duveen Brothers, New York, 1924, no. 15, as by Bernardo Daddi (no. 2 in illustrated 1926 version of catalogue, as by Giotto, or an Assistant).
1930
Exhibition of Italian Art 1200-1900, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1930, no. 16, as Attributed to Giotto (no. 8, pl. V in commemorative catalogue published 1931; not in souvenir catalogue).
1979
Berenson and the Connoisseurship of Italian Painting, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1979, no. 43, repro.
2012
Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300-1350, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 2012-2013, no. 2, repro. (shown only in Los Angeles).
2013
Giotto e compagni, Musée du Louvre, Paris, 2013, no. 12, repros.

Bibliography

1920
Berenson, Bernard. "Italian Paintings." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 15 (1920): 160, 161 repro., as by Bernardo Daddi.
1920
Robinson, Edward. "The Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 15 (1920): 75.
1922
Valentiner, Wilhelm R. The Henry Goldman Collection. New York, 1922: n.p., Introduction, no. 1.
1923
Marle, Raimond van. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. 19 vols. The Hague, 1923-1938: 3(1924):190, fig. 112.
1924
Offner, Richard. "A Remarkable Exhibition of Italian Paintings." The Arts 5 (1924): 243 (repro.), 244.
1925
Mather, Frank Jewett. "Two Attributions to Giotto." Art Studies 3 (1925): 25-27, fig. 2.
1925
Weigelt, Curt H. Giotto: des Meisters Gemälde. Stuttgart, 1925: 204 (repro.), 242.
1926
Thode, Henry. Giotto. Edited by Wolfgang Fritz Volbach. Künstler-Monographien 43. 3rd ed. Bielefeld and Leipzig, 1926: 159 n. 62.
1926
Valentiner, Wilhelm R. A Catalogue of Early Italian Paintings Exhibited at the Duveen Galleries, April to May 1924. New York, 1926: n.p., Introduction, no. 2, repro.
1927
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1928
Hendy, Philip. "The Supposed Painter of Saint Stephen, 1." The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 52 (1928): 289, 290, 295.
1929
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1929
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1929
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1930
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1932
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1934
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1935
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1936
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1937
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1937
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1939
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1940
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1941
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1942
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1942
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1943
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1944
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1944
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1945
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1950
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1951
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1951
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1953
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1954
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1955
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1956
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1957
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1958
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1962
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1962
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1963
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1963
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1964
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1964
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1965
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1965
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1966
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1966
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1966
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1966
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1966
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1966
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1967
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1967
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1967
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1968
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1968
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1968
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1969
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1969
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1969
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1971
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1971
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1971
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1972
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1972
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1973
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1973
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1974
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1974
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1974
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1974
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1975
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1975
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1975
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1976
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1977
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1977
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1978
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1978
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1978
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1979
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1979
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1979
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1980
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1981
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1982
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1982
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1982
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1983
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1983
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1984
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1984
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1984
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1985
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1985
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1985
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1986
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1987
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1988
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1989
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1989
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1989
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1990
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1991
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1991
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1991
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1991
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1991
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1992
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1992
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1993
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1993
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1994
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1994
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1995
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1996
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1996
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1998
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1999
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2000
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2000
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2000
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2002
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2002
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2002
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2003
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2004
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2004
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2004
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2006
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2006
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2006
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2006
Lisner, Margrit. "Osservazioni sul Tondo Doni di Michelangelo e sulla Madonna del Sacco di Andrea del Sarto: cromia e colore iconografico, con un epilogo, 1." Arte cristiana 94 (2006): 340.
2007
Bellosi, Luciano, and Giovanna Ragionieri. Giotto e la sua eredità: Filippo Rusuti, Pietro Cavallini, Duccio, Giovanni da Rimini, Neri da Rimini, Pietro da Rimini, Simone Martini, Pietro Lorenzetti, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Matteo Giovannetti, Masso di Banco, Puccio Capanna, Taddeo Gaddi, Giovanni da Milano, Giottino, Giusto de’Menabuoi, Altichiero, Jacopo Avanzi, Jean Pucelle, i Fratelli Limbourg. Florence, 2007: 127, 303, repro. 305.
2007
Tartuferi, Angelo. Giotto. 1st ed. Florence, 2007: 125 (repro.), 127.
2009
Galassi, Maria Clelia, and Elizabeth Walmsley. "Painting Technique in the Late Works of Giotto: Infrared Examination of Seven Panels from Altarpieces Painted for Santa Croce." In The Quest for the Original: Underdrawing and Technology in Painting. Symposium XVI, Bruges, September 21-23, 2006. Edited by Hélène Verougstraete and Colombe Janssens de Bisthoven. Leuven, 2009: 116-122, figs. 4, 6.
2009
Tomei, Alessandro, ed. Giotto e il Trecento: il più Sovrano Maestro stato in dipintura. 2 vols. Exh. cat. Museo Centrale del Risorgimento, Rome. Milan, 2009: 2:165.

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