Кат. 14. Фра Анжелико: Мадонна с Младенцем
This beautiful but rarely discussed panel, which was first recorded in the collection of Elia Volpi with an attribution to Masolino, was listed by Berenson as by an unidentified Florentine artist close to that master.(*1)
Кат. 14. Мадонна с Младенцем
40,4 х 30,8 см (15 7/8 х 12 1/8 дюймов)
Музей Искусств Фогга, Музей Искусств Гарвардского Университета, Кембридж, Массачусетс
Завещан музею Люси Валлас Портер
Everett Fahy initially recognized it as an early work by Fra Angelico, but later with-drew this suggestion in favor of the attribution to Zanobi Strozzi that had been proposed by Licia Collobi-Ragghianti.(*2) Close examination of the panel, whose condition has been compromised by the transfer from its original support, reveals that its identification as an autograph work by Fra Angelico is, indeed, correct. The surface of the painting was flattened in the process of its transfer; the draperies of both figures are damaged, and a certain coarseness of their facial features is largely the result of restoration. Nevertheless, the impressive spatial effect of theVirgin's extended arms encircling the Child is still fully legible, while the refined modeling of the figures' faces and hands and the glancing highlights on the transparent veil lining theVirgin's cowl and trailing over her left hand (still visible despite abrasion) indicate the original subtlety of the picture's design. Furthermore, the elaborate floral pattern tooled into the gold ground of the panel is reminiscent of — although more complex than — those employed in the brocade draperies of both the Pisa Madonna and the Rotterdam Virgin and Child (cat. 6), and is closely comparable in the sophisticated naturalism of its motifs to the pen-and-ink borders of the initials added, probably by the young Angelico, to an incomplete choir book on which he worked while in the studio of Lorenzo Monaco (cat. 1).
Кат. 14. Мадонна с Младенцем. Деталь
Рис. 12. Мадонна с Младенцем. Деталь
Кат. 6. Мадонна с Младенцем. Деталь
Кат. 1B. Инициал D. Деталь
In his biography of Fra Angelico, Giorgio Vasari confessed his amazement that one man could have painted the many remarkable pictures that were to be seen in the houses of Angelico's Florentine compatriots, even taking into account that the artist's work spanned many years: "Lavoro tante cose questo Padre che sono per le case de'cittadini di Firenze, che io resto qualche volta maravigliato, come tanto e tanto bene potesse, eziandio in molti anni, condurre pedettamente un uomo solo."(*3) By way of example only he singled out three paintings in the collection of Bartolommeo Gondi: "un quadro grande, un piccolo, ed una croce," and one in the collection of "il molto reverendo Don Vincenzo Borghini, spedalingo degl'Innocenti, una Nostra Donna piccola, bellissima."(*4) The majority of images of the Virgin and Child painted by Angelico as objects of private devotion are relatively large tabernacles (see cat. 6, 11, 18, 31), but he did produce a limited number of more intimate pictures of this subject, one of which could well have been the painting owned by Vincenzo Borghini.
Кат. 20. Мадонна с Младенцем, с четырьмя ангелами
The smallest of these represent the Virgin and Child enthroned with angels: three such pictures survive, all of them painted before 1440 (see cat. 20). Somewhat larger than these three but closely related in size among themselves are three other paintings that show the Virgin and Child alone, in half-length, the execution of which seems to have been spread over nearly the entire length of the artist's career. In shape, size, and composition, these panels suggest a type commonly encountered, from the thirteenth century on, as the left — or, less often, the right — valve of a diptych, but none of the examples by Fra Angelico can be paired with a companion scene and none shows certain evidence of the removal of hinges that would indicate such a function.
Рис. 55. Мадонна с Младенцем, с двенадцатью ангелами
40,4 х 30,8 см (15 7/8 х 12 1/8 дюймов)
Государственная галерея, Франкфурт
The earliest of Fra Angelico's experiments in this genre is certainly the Virgin and Child Enthroned, with Twelve Angels, now in Frankfurt (fig. 55) — a panel that seems to have been painted while the artist was at work on the high altarpiece for San Domenico in Fiesole (cat. 10). This must have been followed, at no great distance of time, by the Fogg Virgin and Child, a painting that shares its figure style and manner of rendering with the San Pier Martire triptych (cat. 13), but that seems to betray a first, tentative interest in the contemporary efforts of Masolino and the young Masaccio. In the immediately successive Last Judgment from Santa Maria degli Angeli (about 1424) and in the predella to the Prado Annunciation altarpiece (about 1425), the artist adopts a much more compact and classicizing figure canon. Along with the San Pier Martire triptych, the Fogg Virgin and Child probably can be dated about 1422 or 1423.
(*1). Sold, American Art Association Galleries, New York, November 27, 1916, lot 991; Berenson 1963, vol. I, p. 217.
(*2). Collobi-Ragghianti 1955 b, p. 43. Fahy's original attribution is recorded in Pope-Hennessy 1974, p. 222, and his subsequent opinion, in Bowron 1990, p. 130.
(*3). Vasari (Milanesi ed.) 1878-85, vol. 11, p. 512.