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Church and convent of Cestello (later Santa Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi), Florence, c. 1503-after 1630.[1] Rodolphe Kann [1844/1845-1905], Paris, before 1907;[2] purchased 1907 with the entire Kann collection by (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris);[3] purchased 3 April 1916 by Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, as Florentine, fifteenth century;[4] inheritance from Estate of Peter A.B. Widener by gift through power of appointment of Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park, after purchase by funds of the Estate; gift 1942 to NGA.

Technical Summary

The window is in good condition. Its first recorded restoration was in 1629, when it waw cleaned, the leading renewed, and "pieces of the fields that were missing" were restored.[1] Its most recent cleaning, by the National Gallery's object conservators, took place in 1982. The window had suffered several losses of the shading painted on pale or nearly clear glass areas such as the Virgin's hands and neck. No losses were evident in the Virgin's face, which is shaded with a delicate sfumato effect that differs from the heavier painting on surviving shaded areas of the angel's face (see note 1).

There is a fine crack in the Virgin's halo. A record of 7 December 1942 in the NGA files indicates two broken panes were to be repaired by Mr. Boertlein (not otherwise identified) on the following day, mostly with the use of original glass.[2]

The backs of some border pieces with floral and fruit designs bear painted arabic numerals, in no apparent order. They may reflect a practice recorded later in Vasari's instructions to stained-glass artists to mark each piece of glass with a number "in order to find it easily"; this could be rubbed off after assembly.[3] The numbers on the Washington window, however, is applied in a durable, strongly adhering pigment, possibly fired on. They may be related to a restoration or, more probably to the original process of assembling the border.

[1] Luchs 1975, 83, doc. 1. The restored pieces have not been identified. Differences in color and painting technique have raised suspicions about the cornice atop the base of the Virgin's lectern. The rendering of her face and neck in five separate pieces shaded in varying methods, compared with a single piece for the corresponding area on the angel, raises questions about possible repairs to the Virgin window. At press time the backs of the windows were not accessible for the examination that might resolve these issues.

It has been suggested that the Virgin's face is modern (Giuseppe Marchini, letter, 26 October 1959, in NGA curatorial files; undated note in file quoting "Dr. Finkl"). While the face is on an unusually flat piece of glass, and differs in shading technique from her hands and from the angel, the drawing style of details matches the angel well. Mary's pale visage could represent an original, iconographically motivated distinction, giving her face a brightness that responds to the depicted light in the left window, whose rays would fall directly on her face.[2] The memo does not indicate which window was broken, how the damage occurred, or the location of the panes except to mention that the less severely damaged area included "a floral design," and thus must have involved a border piece.[3] See Giorgio Vasari, Vasari on Technique, ed. G. Baldwin Brown, trans. Louisa S. Maclehose (1907; reprint New York, 1960), 168-169; I owe this reference to Shelley G. Sturman.


Catalogue de la collection Rodolphe Kann; objets d'art. 2 vols. (Objets d'art by Jules Mannheim) Paris, 1907: 1:15, no. 22, as early sixteenth century, after Lorenzo di Credi.
Inventory of the Objects d'Art at Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, The Estate of the Late P.A.B. Widener. Philadelphia, 1935: 49, as Italian (Florence), fifteenth century, probably designed by Lorenzo di Credi.
Works of Art from the Widener Collection. Foreword by David Finley and John Walker. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 11, as Florentine 15th Century.
Christensen, Erwin O. Objects of Medieval Art from the Widener Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1952: 18.
Marchini, Giuseppe. "Vetri italiani in America." Arte in Europa: Scritti di storia dell'arte in onore di Edoardo Arslan. 2 vols. Pavia, 1965-1966: 1:431-436.
Luchs, Alison. "Origins of the Widener Annunciation Windows." Studies in the History of Art 7 (1975): 81-89, color repro.
Luchs, Alison. Cestello; a Cistercian Church of the Florentine Renaissance. New York, 1977: 28, 117-119, figs. 88a, b.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 34, color repro. 35.
Luchs, Alison. "Stained Glass Above Renaissance Altars; Figural Windows in Italian Church Architecture from Brunelleschi to Bramante." Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 48 (1985): 200-204, fig. 24.
Stained Glass before 1700 in American Collections; Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern Seaboard States. Corpus Vitrearum Checklist II. Studies in the History of Art 23, monograph ser. I (1987): color repro. 6, 12, 34.
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 196, color repro.
Distelberger, Rudolf, Alison Luchs, Philippe Verdier, and Timonthy H. Wilson. Western Decorative Arts, Part I: Medieval, Renaissance, and Historicizing Styles including Metalwork, Enamels, and Ceramics. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1993: 62-67, color repro. 63.
National Gallery of Art Special Issue. Connaissance des Arts. Paris, 2000:62.
Vignon, Charlotte. Duveen Brothers and the Market for Decorative Arts, 1880-1940. New York, 2019: 232 fig. 86, 277 n. 853.

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