GIOVANNI DEL BIONDO (Pratovecchio, 1356 Florence, 1399)
Virgin breastfeeding the Child Jesus between St. John the Baptist, St. Paul, St. Peter, St. Francis of Assisi, five cherubs and four seraphim
Tempera on poplar panel, gold background
H. 83.7 cm, L. 53.4 cm Collector's
stamps in red
wax Giovanni Del Biondo
Painter of the Florentine school active between 1356 and 1392, Giovanni del Biondo first trained in Siena where he was influenced by Bartolo di Fredi (1330-1410) before settling in Florence around 1356. Although he is not mentioned in the Lives of the Best Painters, Sculptors and Architects (1550) by Giorgio Vasari, Giovanni del Biondo enjoyed an important reputation in the Tuscan city where his works are still preserved, whether in the Museum of the Duomo (fig.1) or in the Museum of the Work of Santa Croce.
The iconography and style mix tradition and modernity. The scene depicted is a Holy Conversation, a novelty that appeared in the 14th century and which allowed the Virgin to be depicted surrounded by saints rather than frontal and isolated. On the contrary, the golden background is an archaism inherited from the art of iconography in the Byzantine school. Finally, the disproportion between Mary and the holy figures attest to the importance of the Marian cult in the Renaissance period.
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