This composition, known in a number of variants, was extremely popular in the late 1480s and early 1490s. It probably derives from a prototype by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1448/9-1494), master of one of the largest and most important workshops in late fifteenth-century Florence. The high quality of this painting suggests Mainardi (Ghirlandaio’s brother-in-law) likely painted it under the master’s close supervision. Commercial production of admired compositions was quite common during the Renaissance, especially for private devotional use. The tondo (round) format was particularly favored for the home.
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- Titles Madonna and Christ Child with Infant Saint John the Baptist and Three Angels (Proper)
- Artist Formerly attributed to, Bastiano Mainardi, Italy, Tuscan, 1466 - 1513 / Workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio, Italy, 1449 - 1494
- Medium tempera on panel
- Dimensions 33 5/8 in. (85.4 cm) frame: 44 7/8 × 43 1/8 × 3 1/2 in. (114 × 109.5 × 8.9 cm)
- Credit Line Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961.97
- Work Type painting
- Classification Paintings
- On View
- Inscription On frame: AVE MARIA GRATIA PLENA DOMINE TECO BENED TVIV B.FRVCE VIJESVS [Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus]
- Provenance William Hekking, the Netherlands [see note 1]. With Leo Nardus, Amsterdam; purchased by Peter Arrell Brown Widener (1834-1915), Philadelphia, 1899, as Ghirlandaio and Mainardi [see note 2]; with Arthur J. Sulley, London, 1910 [see note 3]. With Count Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi (1878-1955), Florence; purchased by Samuel H. Kress (1863-1955), New York, June 28, 1933; gift to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1939; deaccessioned in 1952 and returned to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation; on loan to the Birmingham Museum of Art, 1952; gift of the Kress Foundation to the Birmingham Museum of Art, 1961
1. Widener, P.A.B. Catalogue of Paintings forming the Private Collection of P.A.B. Widener, Ashbourne, - near Philadelphia (Paris: Goupil & Co, 1885-1900), 195. No further information on the identity of William Hekking is known.
3. Provenance information from Shapley, Fern Rusk, Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, Italian Schools XIII-XV Century (London: Phaidon Press, 1966), 127. Shapley disputes the provenance cited in National Gallery of Art. Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. Descriptive List with Notes (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1941), 121 that includes Earl Spencer, Althorp House and Charles Fairfax Murray. The erroneous Lord Spencer reference came from the bill of sale of the painting from Contini-Bonacossi to Kress, dated June 28, 1933 that is in the curatorial files of the Birmingham Museum of Art.