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Madonna and Child with Young Saint John The Baptist, Joseph and Angels, ca. 1500

Artist: Follower of Lorenzo di Credi, Italian (Florentine School), ca. 1456/60 - 1537

Medium: Tempera on wood

Painting: 50 7/8 x 50 7/8 in. (129.2 x 129.2 cm)
Frame: 66 1/2 x 66 1/2 in. (168.9 x 168.9 cm)

Credit Line: Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Object Number: 28.1

On View

John Hubert Stogdon (1876-1944), Harrow-on-the-Hill, Middlesex (sale, London, Christie's, July 14, 1922, no. 39 as Piero di Cosimo); bt. Christie's (sale, London, Christie's, February 12, 1926, no. 39); bt. Sampson; Count Alessandro Contini Bonacossi (1878-1955), Rome-Florence, [Oct. 14] 1927 [as Raffaellino del Garbo]; Samuel H. Kress (1863-1955), New York, New York, 1928

Madonna and Child with St. John is believed to have been painted by a follower of the Florentine artist Lorenzo di Credi who, like Leonardo da Vinci, was a student in the workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio.  This figural composition and the devout attitude of the Virgin were probably derived from several of Leonardo's sketches, while the elderly figure of St. Joseph, the donkey and the two angels adoring the Christ Child appear to have come from Lorenzo's Adoration of the Shepherds now in the Uffizi Museum.

 

This subject, popular during the period of the High Renaissance, shows idealized figures and landscape. The tondo (a circular painting) includes the Virgin placed between the two columns of a classically styled loggia.  Two angels watch and worship the infant who clutches a goldfinch.  The finch, which often eats thorns and thistles, is a reference to Christ's eventual crown of thorns.  The young St. John the Baptist kneels at left and holds a cross symbolizing the crucifixion itself.  The small rock in the foreground signifies Christ as the biblical rock upon which the Church will be founded.