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Miklós Boskovits (1935–2011), “Giotto/Madonna and Child/c. 1310/1315,” Italian Thirteenth and Fourteenth Century Paintings, NGA Online Editions, http://purl.org/nga/collection/artobject/397 (accessed July 25, 2016).

 

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Overview

Giotto's explorations and innovations in art during the early 14th 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 di Buoninsegna (Sienese, c. 1250/1255 - 1318/1319) 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 (see Reconstruction). Giotto utilized a conservative Byzantine-style background in gold leaf, symbolizing the realm of heaven, and included a white rose, the 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 baby-like way as he playfully reaches for the flower that she holds.

Entry

The painting in the National Gallery of Art presents the Virgin and Child according to a variant of the compositional scheme known as the Hodegetria Virgin, in which Mary’s right hand, instead of indicating her Son, holds a rose that identifies her as the “rose of Sharon”[1] and hence the Church, mystic bride of Christ.[2] The gesture of the Christ child, his left hand extended to grasp his mother’s forefinger, also presumably has a symbolic as well as a playful or affectionate significance; in other versions of the composition the child even pulls on his mother’s hand with the forefinger pointed towards him, as if actively soliciting her designation of him as a lamb, sacrificial victim.[3]

Both the profile and shape of our painting, known to scholars as the Goldman Madonna, suggest that it was the centerpiece of a dispersed polyptych [fig. 1] (see also Reconstruction). The appearance of the multipart altarpiece to which our Madonna and Child originally belonged remains uncertain due primarily to the various restorations that have altered its appearance, especially by modifying its external profile and eliminating the original surface of the back of its wooden support. Despite these uncertainties, it seems probable that the polyptych in question consisted of a series of rectangular panels topped by equilateral triangular gables—an archaic type of altarpiece, but one represented in Florence not only in works by Giotto but also in paintings by the circle of Pacino di Bonaguida and Jacopo del Casentino,[4] and in those realized in the circle of Duccio di Buoninsegna (Sienese, c. 1250/1255 - 1318/1319) in Siena.[5] The resemblance of our painting to the image of Saint Stephen in the Museo Horne in Florence has long been noted:[6] affinities between them are evident in style, in dimension, and in details of the ornamental repertoire.[7] However, the gold ground in the Saint Stephen was laid over a preparation of green underpaint instead of the usual red bole,[8] making their common origin unlikely. Many art historians have also proposed that two panels depicting Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Lawrence combined with busts of angels in the upper register [fig. 2][fig. 3], in the Jacquemart-­André collection, Paris, and now displayed in the former abbey of Chaalis, outside Paris, belong to the same polyptych as our Madonna. This, in spite of some structural discrepancies between the Chaalis saints and the Washington Madonna, is possible.[9]

The reception of the painting, of unknown Florentine provenance, was rather cold when it suddenly appeared on the horizon of art historical studies in 1917, at a time when research on Giotto’s style had led to an extreme limitation of works held to be autograph. Bernard Berenson, evidently the first art historian to have had the opportunity to examine it, attributed it at first to Bernardo Daddi (active by 1320, died probably 1348), immediately followed by Edward Robinson (1920) and Wilhelm R. Valentiner (1922, 1927).[10] A more exhaustive analysis of the painting soon led Berenson to change his mind and to admit its close kinship to Giotto; he later assigned it to “one of the painters of the frescoes designed by Giotto in the lower church of San Francesco in Assisi.”[11] Like Berenson, Raimond van Marle (1924) and Richard Offner (1924) also referred the panel to an “assistant of Giotto,” identifying the hand of the same anonymous artist in other paintings now generally recognized as the work of Giotto himself.[12] Similar opinions were then expressed by Curt H. Weigelt (1925), Wolfgang Fritz Volbach (1926), Valentiner (1926), Pietro Toesca (1929, 1933), Berenson (1930–1931, 1932, 1936), and Robert Oertel (1953, 1968).[13] Frank Jewett Mather Jr. (1925), however, began to speak of the panel now in Washington as a fully autograph Giotto, and this recognition, reaffirmed by such reputable scholars as Carlo Gamba (1930), Roberto Longhi (1930–1931), Lionello Venturi (1931, 1933), and Mario Salmi (1937), was generally accepted—with a few exceptions [14]—following the painting’s entry into the Gallery.[15]

Opinions have differed in evaluating the date of the painting. A substantial body of the art historical literature considers the panel the work of Giotto’s later maturity and dates it to the years 1325–1330 (Mather 1925; Brandi 1938–1939; Carli 1951, 1955; Battisti 1960; Walker et al. 1961; Berenson 1963; Bologna 1969; Bellosi 1974, 1994; Laclotte 1978; Shapley 1979; Brandi 1983; Cavazzini 1996),[16] or, more cautiously, within the third decade of the century (Toesca 1933; NGA 1985; Lunghi 1986; Bonsanti 1992, 2000; Tomei 1995).[17] The conviction that it should be dated to c. 1320 or even earlier is equally widespread (Longhi 1930–1931; Salmi 1937; Cecchi 1937; Duveen Pictures 1941; Frankfurter 1944; Florisoone 1950; Gamba 1961; Walker 1963; Rossi 1966; De Benedictis 1967; Dal Poggetto 1967; Previtali 1967, 1990; Venturoli 1969; Tartuferi 1987, 2000, 2007; Bandera Bistoletti 1989; Flores d’Arcais 1995; Boskovits 2000; Ragionieri 2002, 2007).[18] Supporters of such a dating are in essence those who have placed it between the frescoes in the Peruzzi and Bardi Chapels in Santa Croce in Florence, such as Federico Zeri (1957), Cesare Gnudi (1958), Roberto Longhi (1968), Lamberto Busignani (1993), and Julian Gardner (2002), but also those who have not accepted Giotto’s direct authorship and have limited themselves to pointing out the painting’s kinship with the Christological cycle in the lower church of San Francesco in Assisi, such as Berenson (1930–1931) and Tantillo Mignosi (1975).[19]

Various hypotheses have also been advanced about the presumed destination of the polyptych of which the Washington Madonna formed part. The proposal, first formulated by Mather (1925), that it was one of the four polyptychs that Ghiberti mentioned in Santa Croce, met with wide support.[20] Later, observing that one of the panels in Chaalis represented Saint Lawrence and that in the Museo Horne Saint Stephen, Gnudi (1959), convinced like many others of the common origin of these panels with the Goldman Madonna, cautiously suggested as its original site the chapel dedicated to these saints in Santa Croce — ​​that is, the chapel of the Pulci and Berardi families.[21] Although many found the proposal convincing, Gardner (1999, 2002)[22] placed it in doubt: according to this scholar, the original altar blocks that survive in the family chapels in the east transept of Santa Croce were too small ever to have supported an altarpiece some three meters in length, as the polyptych in question must have been.[23]

An alternative hypothesis, formulated by Venturi (1931, 1933), identified the panel now in Washington and its presumed companions as components of the lost polyptych in the church of the Badia in Florence.[24] Ugo Procacci (1962), however, refuted the proposal and succeeded in identifying the former Badia altarpiece with the still intact polyptych that entered the Museo di Santa Croce in the nineteenth century.[25] Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti (1949) advanced yet another proposal, according to which the panels now divided among the museums of Chaalis, Florence, and Washington were components of the polyptych painted by Giotto for the church of San Francesco in Borgo Sansepolcro,[26] but this hypothesis has been found unconvincing. 

If the problem of the destination of the polyptych remains unresolved, by observing the characteristics of polyptychs by Giotto himself and by other Florentine painters (for example, that by Jacopo del Casentino, now in New Orleans)[27] datable within the first quarter of the fourteenth century, we can conclude that the altarpiece of which the Goldman Madonna formed the center is unlikely to have been very different in appearance from that conjectured by Longhi (1930–1931)[fig. 4]. By flanking the panel in the Gallery with panels of saints of slightly smaller size, we would obtain an ensemble similar in dimensions to those of the former Badia polyptych (which we know was intended for the high altar of that church). It would have considerably exceeded in width those polyptychs executed by Giotto for side chapels or for long-established altars in older churches.[28] It would be futile, based on current knowledge, to go any further in the field of conjecture; it will suffice to point out that among the churches in which panels by Giotto are mentioned by the earlier sources, the most probable provenances are likely to be the Florentine churches of Santa Croce and Ognissanti.[29]

With regard to the chronological position of the panel being discussed here, some features, such as the exclusive use of decorations incised freehand (hence the absence of punched motifs), seem to offer firm clues.[30] In the Stefaneschi altarpiece, which ought to date to the early 1320s,[31] the artist used at least one punched motif, and this type of decoration is increasingly found in his later paintings. The characteristics of the motifs incised freehand in the halos and the pseudo-­Kufic lettering in the broad ornamental border that runs around the margins of the panel [fig. 5] seem recurrent in the works by Giotto since the end of the thirteenth century [fig. 6], but perhaps it is not by chance that the practice of surrounding the halos with a double row of dots appears no earlier than the Maestà in the Uffizi, Florence.[32] To these elements, which seem to indicate a relatively early date in Giotto’s career—within the second decade of the fourteenth century—we can perhaps add an observation regarding the red coif that covers Mary’s head and can be glimpsed, on either side of her face, below the pseudo-­Kufic hem of the mantle that covers her head. This is an archaic, byzantinizing motif that would disappear from Giotto’s authenticated works in the course of the 1320s.[33] A relatively early date might also be suggested by the neckline of the Virgin’s dress. Though this is admittedly an unreliable clue, it concurs with other features in suggesting a date for the Washington painting no later than the early 1320s.[34]

A stylistic reading of the painting seems to confirm the chronological position suggested by the abovementioned data. Its morphological features connect the Goldman Madonna with the central phase of Giotto’s career, what might be defined as his “Peruzzi phase.” Unfortunately, the frescoes of the Peruzzi Chapel (in Santa Croce), much admired by the sources and by artists in the past, are now reduced to almost total illegibility by the radical abrasion to which they have been subjected. Other paintings have survived from the same phase, in which the artist appears no longer satisfied with the serene classicism of his Paduan paintings. Solemnity and monumentality were no longer enough: a more circumstantial, naturalistic description of the events, and a deeper participation of the protagonists in them, were needed. While further accentuating the physical stature and presence of his figures, Giotto now strove to underline their active involvement in the emotional climate of the scenes. These were also the years of the cycle of frescoes in the Magdalene chapel in the lower church of San Francesco at Assisi (for which there are good reasons for dating it to 1308).[35] The polyptych in the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh can be assumed to be only one or two years later: it is stylistically close to the mural cycle in Assisi.[36] Apart from the semidestroyed frescoes of the Peruzzi Chapel,[37] the surviving stained-glass windows of the last bay of Santa Croce before the transept (now replaced by copies: the original windows are housed in the Museo dell’Opera)[38] must also date to the early 1310s. The painted crucifix in the Florentine church of the Ognissanti, together with the Dormitio Virginis painted for the same church (now in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin), also should date to this phase.[39]

Between 1311 and 1315, Giotto seems to have been engaged in paintings especially for his hometown.[40] In the years that followed, Giotto’s painting is dominated by a gothicizing tendency, for example in the murals in the transept of the lower church of Assisi, where we may note a greater pursuit of realistic effects and a greater attention to the elegance of pose and expressiveness of gesture of his figures. So novel are these developments that the paintings he executed during these years have often been denied the status of autograph works; instead, art historians have postulated the leading presence at the master’s side of an assistant, the so-called “Parente di Giotto.”[41] The features of the works belonging to this phase are in any case different from those expressed in the Washington Madonna. The painting being discussed here finds its most convincing parallels in passages of the frescoes in the Magdalene chapel, for example with the bust of the titular saint in the vault, and also in the image of the Virgin in the Raleigh polyptych.[42] In the Goldman Madonna, however, the more slender proportions of the protagonists, the more fluent calligraphy of the contours, and the greater complexity of the draperies, in comparison with the abovementioned painting, reveal a more advanced stage in Giotto’s development. The conduct of the protagonists of our painting seems to confirm this: the child is presented by the artist no longer as the infant pantocrator of the Maestà in the Uffizi but with a more human touch, with charm and infantile immediacy. The sternness is mitigated: the child’s little face is softened, its tenderness heightened by the smile that seems to play on his lips. His gestures—right hand stretched out to touch the rose in his mother’s hand, left hand to grasp her forefinger—are intimate and playful. As already in the great Maestà, the lips of the child and those of his mother are parted, not for any solemn declaration but to engage in an affectionate and intimate conversation. 

Whatever our painting’s destination, it ought to date to the years around 1310 to 1315, when the two panels of Chaalis (components, perhaps, of the same polyptych) also saw the light of day.

Miklós Boskovits (1935–2011)

March 21, 2016

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
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Berenson, Bernard. "Italian Paintings." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 15 (1920): 160, 161 repro., as by Bernardo Daddi.
1920
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1922
Valentiner, Wilhelm R. The Henry Goldman Collection. New York, 1922: n.p., Introduction, no. 1.
1923
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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.
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Hendy, Philip. "The Supposed Painter of Saint Stephen, 1." The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 52 (1928): 289, 290, 295.
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1935
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1936
Berenson, Bernard. Pitture italiane del rinascimento: catalogo dei principali artisti e delle loro opere con un indice dei luoghi. Translated by Emilio Cecchi. Milan, 1936: 203.
1937
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1938
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1939
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1940
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1941
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1941
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1941
Richter, George Martin. "The New National Gallery in Washington." The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 78 (June 1941): 177, 179, pl. B.
1942
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1942
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1943
Sinibaldi, Giulia, and Giulia Brunetti, eds. Pittura italiana del Duecento e Trecento: catalogo della mostra giottesca di Firenze del 1937. Exh. cat. Galleria degli Uffizi. Florence, 1943: 323, 325, 339, 361.
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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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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1959
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1959
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1959
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1960
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1960
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1960
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1961
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1961
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1961
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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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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
Battisti, Eugenio. Piero della Francesca. 2 vols. Milan, 1971: 1:528 n. 548.
1971
Martinelli, Valentino. "Contributo alla conoscenza dell’ultimo Giotto." In Giotto e il suo tempo: Atti del congresso internazionale per la celebrazione del VII centenario della nascità di Giotto. Rome, 1971: 399-400.
1971
Smart, Alistair. The Assisi Problem and the Art of Giotto: A Study of the Legend of St. Francis in the Upper Church of San Francesco, Assisi. Oxford, 1971: 65.
1972
Boskovits, Miklós. "Giotto di Bondone." In Dizionario Enciclopedico Bolaffi dei pittori e degli Incisori italiani: dall’XI al XX secolo . Edited by Alberto Bolaffi and Umberto Allemandi. 11 vols. Turin, 1972-1976: 6(1974):11.
1972
Fredericksen, Burton B., and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972: 87, 311, 645, 661.
1973
De Benedictis, Cristina. Giotto: Bibliografia, Vol. 2 (1937-1970). Rome, 1973: 537.
1973
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Italian Schools, XVI-XVIII Century. London, 1973: 382.
1974
Bellosi, Luciano. Buffalmacco e il Trionfo della morte. Turin, 1974: 52, fig. 93.
1974
Gregori, Mina. "Sul polittico Bromley Davenport di Taddeo Gaddi e sulla sua originaria collocazione." Paragone 25, no. 297 (1974): 74.
1974
Pesenti, Franco Renzo. "Dismembered works of art - Italian painting." In An Illustrated Inventory of Famous Dismembered Works of Art: European Painting. Paris, 1974: 20, 28-29, repro.
1974
Previtali, Giovanni. Giotto e la sua bottega. 2nd ed. Milan, 1974: 112-113, 317 (repro.), 318, 335, 377, pl. 79.
1975
Boskovits, Miklós. Pittura fiorentina alla vigilia del Rinascimento, 1370-1400. Florence, 1975: 5, 15, 244 n. 13.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 154, repro.
1975
Tantillo Mignosi, Almamaria. "Osservazioni sul transetto della Basilica Inferiore di Assisi." Bollettino d’arte 60 (1975): 136, 141 n. 38.
1976
Fowles, Edward. Memories of Duveen Brothers. London, 1976: 104.
1977
Bellosi, Luciano. "Moda e cronologia: A) gli affreschi della Basilica Inferiore di Assisi." Prospettiva 10 (1977): 26, 28, fig. 24.
1977
Bellosi, Luciano. "Moda e cronologia: B) per la pittura di primo Trecento." Prospettiva 11 (1977): 13 (repro.), 14.
1978
Fahy, Everett. "Italian Paintings at Fenway Court and Elsewhere." The Connoisseur 198, no. 795 (1978): 29.
1978
Laclotte, Michel. "Reconstruction and Revaluation." Apollo 108 (1978): 387.
1978
Ressort, Claude, Sylvia Beguin, and Michel Laclotte, eds. Retables italiens du XIIIe au XVe siècle. Exh. cat. Musée National du Louvre, Paris, 1978: 11-14, repro.
1979
Caleca, Antonino, Gaetano Nencini, Giovanna Piancastelli, and Enzo Carli. Pisa, Museo delle Sinopie del Camposanto monumentale. Pisa, 1979: 68.
1979
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. Washington, 1979: 1:219-221; 2:pl. 149.
1979
Watson, Ross. The National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1979: 19, pl. 2.
1980
Conti, Alessandro. "Un Crocifisso nella bottega di Giotto." Prospettiva 20 (1980): 48, 56 n. 15.
1981
Bellosi, Luciano. Giotto. Florence, 1981: 71, 72, fig. 147.
1982
Christiansen, Keith. "Fourteenth-Century Italian Altarpieces." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 40 (1982): 50, 54.
1982
Ladis, Andrew. Taddeo Gaddi: Critical Reappraisal and Catalogue Raisonné. Columbia, 1982: repro. 23.
1982
Pietralunga, Fra Ludovico da, and Pietro Scarpellini (intro. and comm.). Descrizione della Basilica di S. Francesco e di altri Santuari di Assisi. Treviso, 1982: 245.
1983
Brandi, Cesare. Giotto. Milan, 1983: 147-149 (repro.), 150, repro. 186.
1983
Ladis, Andrew. "An Early Trecento Madonna Uncovered." Antichità viva 22 (1983): 7, 8, fig. 8.
1984
Boskovits, Miklós. "Una vetrata e un frammento d’affresco di Giotto nel museo di Santa Croce." In Scritti di storia dell’arte in onore di Federico Zeri. 2 vols. Milan, 1984: 1:44 n. 7.
1984
Ercoli, Giuliano. "Una Precisazione per Giotto, Boccaccio e Giovanni di Pagolo Morelli." In Scritti di storia dell’arte in onore di Roberto Salvini. Florence, 1984: 197.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 71, no. 10, color repro.
1985
Bonsanti, Giorgio. Giotto. Padua, 1985: 53, 55-56, 172-174, pl. 172.
1985
Boskovits, Miklós. The Martello Collection: Paintings, Drawings and Miniatures from the XIVth to the XVIIIth Centuries. Florence, 1985: 97.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 177, repro.
1986
Castelnuovo, Enrico, ed. La Pittura in Italia. Il Duecento e il Trecento. 2 vols. Milan, 1986: 1:293; 2:576.
1987
Offner, Richard, and Miklós Boskovits. A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting. The Fourteenth Century. Sec. III, Vol. II, part I: Elder Contemporaries of Bernardo Daddi. 2nd ed. Florence, 1987: 18, 617.
1987
Tartuferi, Angelo. "Dipinti del Due e Trecento alla mostra ‘Capolavori e Restauri.’" Paragone 38, no. 445 (1987): 53, 59 n. 30.
1988
Davies, Martin, and Dillian Gordon. National Gallery Catalogues. The Earlier Italian Schools. Rev. ed. London, 1988: 30.
1989
Bandera Bistoletti, Sandrina. Giotto: catalogo completo dei dipinti. Florence, 1989: 126, repro. 129.
1989
Gordon, Dillian. "A Dossal by Giotto and His Workshop: Some Problems of Attribution, Provenance and Patronage." The Burlington Magazine 131 (1989): 526.
1989
Offner, Richard, Miklós Boskovits, and Enrica Neri Lusanna. A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting. The Fourteenth Century. Sec. III, Vol. III: The Works of Bernardo Daddi. 2nd ed. Florence, 1989: 391.
1989
Previtali, Giovanni. "Giotto." In Dizionario della pittura e dei pittori. Edited by Enrico Castelnuovo and Bruno Toscano. 6 vols. Turin, 1989-1994: 2(1990):604.
1990
Testi Cristiani, Maria Laura. "‘Circostanze avignonesi’: il crocifisso double-face del cardinale Godin a Tolosa, 1." Critica d’arte 55 (1990): 50 (repro.), 56.
1991
Gardner, Julian. "Review of a Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century. The Works of Bernardo Daddi, Section III, Volume 3, by R. Offner. New Edition by M. Boskovits in Collaboration with E. Neri Lusanna." The Burlington Magazine 133 (1991): 201.
1991
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 185, 188, color repro.
1991
Simon, Robin. "The National Gallery of Art, Washington. Fifty Years of Private Collecting for the Public Good." Apollo 133 (March 1991): 156, repro.
1991
"The National Gallery of Art, Washington: fifty years." Apollo 133, no. 349 (March 1991):156, repro.
1991
Tomei, Alessandro. "Giotto." In Enciclopedia dell’arte medievale. Edited by Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana. 12 vols. Rome, 1991-2002: 6(1996):671.
1992
Bonsanti, Giorgio. "La bottega di Giotto e la Croce di San Felice." In La croce giottesca di San Felice in Piazza: storia e restauro. Edited by Magnolia Scudieri. Venice, 1992: 79, 89 n. 50.
1992
National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1992: 12, repro.
1993
Busignani, Alberto. Giotto. Florence, 1993: 206, 209 (repro.), 307.
1993
Previtali, Giovanni, and Giovanna Ragionieri. Giotto e la sua bottega. Edited by Alessandro Conti. 3rd ed. Milan, 1993: 147 n. 217, 329, 348, 391.
1994
Bellosi, Luciano. "Ancora sulla cronologia degli affreschi del Cappellone di San Nicola a Tolentino." In Arte e spiritualità nell’ordine agostiniano e il Convento San Nicola a Tolentino: atti della seconda sessione del convegno “Arte e Spiritualità negli Ordini Mendicanti”; Tolentino, 1-4 settembre 1992. Edited by Graziano Campisano. Rome, 1994: 189.
1994
Jackson, Jed. Art: A Comparative Study. Dubuque, IA, 1994: repro. 117.
1995
Flores d’Arcais, Francesca. Giotto. 1st ed. Milan, 1995: 320, 321 (repro.), 324.
1996
Cavazzini, Laura. Giotto. Florence, 1996: 33, 40.
1996
Gilbert, Creighton E. "Giotto di Bondone." In The Dictionary of Art. Edited by Jane Turner. 34 vols. New York and London, 1996: 12:686
1998
Apostolos-Cappadona, Diane. "Virgin/Virginity." In Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art. Edited by Helene E. Roberts. 2 vols. Chicago, 1998: 2:905.
1999
Gardner, Julian. "Panel Paintings Attributed to Giotto in American Collections." Center / National Gallery of Art, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts 19 (1999): 71-73, repro.
2000
Sainte Fare Garnot, Nicolas. "Brève histoire d’une redécouverte." In Primitifs italiens du Musée Jacquemart-André. Paris, 2000: 104-105, repro. 107.
2000
Tartuferi, Angelo, ed. Giotto: bilancio critico di sessant’anni di studi e ricerche. Exh. cat. Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence, 2000: 66, 71, 88, 118, 175, repro. 177, 182-186, repro. 183.
2000
Tartuferi, Angelo. "Giotto. Una nuova Immagine." In Giotto: guida alla mostra. Edited by Angelo Tartuferi. Exh. guide. Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence, 2000: 21, repro.
2002
Bonsanti, Giorgio. "La pittura del Duecento e del Trecento." In La Basilica di San Francesco ad Assisi. Edited by Giorgio Bonsanti. Modena, 2002: 168, 184.
2002
Gardner, Julian. "Giotto in America (and Elsewhere)." In Italian Panel Painting of the Duecento and Trecento. Edited by Victor M. Schmidt. Studies in the History of Art 61 ( 2002): 161, 171-176, figs. 16, 17, 20.
2002
Ragionieri, Giovanna. "Giotto di Bondone." In La pittura in Europa. Il Dizionario dei pittori. Edited by Carlo Pirovano. 3 vols. Milan, 2002: 2:360.
2003
"Giotto ou Giotto di Bondone." In Dictionnaire de la peinture. Edited by Michel Laclotte and Jean Pierre Cuzin. Paris, 2003: 381.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 8-9, no. 3, color repros.
2004
Maginnis, Hayden B. J. "In Search of an Artist." In The Cambridge Companion to Giotto. Edited by Anne Derbes and Mark Sandona. Cambridge, 2004: 23.
2004
Secrest, Meryle. Duveen: A Life in Art. New York, 2004: 445.
2006
Bellosi, Luciano. "Moda e cronologia: A) gli affreschi della Basilica Inferiore di Assisi." In “I vivi parean vivi”: scritti di storia dell’arte italiana del Duecento e del Trecento. (Prospettiva 121-124) Florence, 2006: 432, 434 fig. 22.
2006
Bellosi, Luciano. "Moda e cronologia: B) per la pittura di primo Trecento." In “I vivi parean vivi”: scritti di storia dell’arte italiana del Duecento e del Trecento. (Prospettiva 121-124) Florence, 2006: 439, fig. 3.
2006
Greco, Gabriella, ed. Giotto. Milan, 2006: 286, 287, repro.
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.
2012
Sciacca, Christine, ed. Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300–1350. J. Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles, 2012, no. 2, repro.
2013
Thiebaut, Dominique, ed. Giotto e compagni. Exh. cat. Musée du Louvre. Paris, 2013: no. 12, repros.
2015
Dunn, Joanna R., Barbara H. Berrie, John K. Delaney, and Lisha Deming Glinsman. “The Creation of Giotto’s Madonna and Child: New Insights.” Facture 2 (2015): 2-17.
Technical Summary

The wooden support is a single-member poplar panel [1] with vertical grain, which was cradled sometime in the late 1910s and again in 1937, this time by Stephen Pichetto.[2] Probably during the earlier of these treatments, the panel was thinned and trimmed along the edges of the terminal arch.

The painting was executed on a white gesso ground, and the x-radiographs show evidence of a fabric interlayer between the gesso and the wooden panel. The gilded areas were prepared with a thin green earth layer followed by a red bole.[3] The halos and the decorative border along the edges are adorned by patterns incised freehand in the gold ground. The outlines of the figures were incised into the ground. In the areas of flesh, the artist applied a green underpaint wash that loosely defined the shadows, followed by a verdaccio that used a combination of fine hatchmarks and broader strokes to create the shadows [fig. 1] [fig. 2].[4] The paint was built up in thin, fluid layers. At the underdrawing stage, visible with infrared reflectography at 0.9 to 5 microns,[5] the child’s face was tilted up slightly by shifting his eyes and ear . 

The painted surface is generally in a good state, but the gold ground is slightly abraded. Numerous scattered small paint losses and a few woodworm exit holes are visible in the painting. The losses are concentrated mainly in the lower portion of the Virgin’s mantle. There is also some staining in the Virgin’s mantle, which was inpainted when the painting underwent treatment to remove a discolored varnish in 2012.[6]

Altarpiece Reconstruction

Click on any panel in the altarpiece reconstruction below to see an enlarged version of the image. Color reproductions in the reconstruction indicate panels in the National Gallery of Art collection.

Reconstruction of a dispersed polyptych by Giotto:

a. Saint John the Evangelist (Entry fig. 2)
b. Madonna and Child
c. Saint Lawrence (Entry fig. 3)

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