Bartolo di Fredi Cini
Madonna and Child
Bartolo di Fredi Cini, Italian; Sienese, Madonna and Child, ca. 1380, Tempera and gold on panel; 90.2 x 63.5 x 5.1 cm (35 1/2 x 25 x 2 inches) updated during painting inventory project 12/3/04, Anonymous gift 20.207
Bartolo di Fredi produced important altarpieces in Siena and in the surrounding towns of Montalcino, San Gemignano, and Lusignano. The distinctive characteristics of the face, hands and earlobes of this Madonna and Child relate the panel to Bartolo’s flourishing workshop, as do the rich textiles and the trefoil designs within the internal arch of the frame. Late 14th century Sienese painting prolonged a Gothic style in which figures were set on gold grounds and clothed in harmonious fields of color and pattern that obscured their physicality. In this panel, the naturalism of the subjects’ direct gazes, the soft modeling of their faces, and the tender relationship of the figures contrast with the highly decorative setting. In spite of their restrained frontal poses, the figures convey Bartolo’s interest in a humanistic portrayal of the Divine.