Madonna with Child Enthroned between Saints John the Baptist and Sebastian

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Madonna Enthroned between Saints John the Baptist and Sebastian
Pietro Perugino cat30.jpg
Artist Pietro Perugino
Year 1493
Type Oil on panel
Dimensions 178 cm × 164 cm (70 in × 65 in)
Location Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Madonna with Child Enthroned between Saints John the Baptist and Sebastian is a painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Pietro Perugino, executed in 1493, and housed in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

History[edit]

The work was commissioned by Cornelia Salviati, widow of Venetian merchant Giovanni Martini, and his son Roberto, for the chapel of the convent of San Domenico, Fiesole, which had been perhaps restored by Giuliano da Sangallo a few years before. In 1493 Perugino had married Chiara Fancelli, the daughter of architect Luca Fancelli: the face of the Madonna is a portrait of her.

Detail of St. Sebastian's face.

In 1786 the panel was acquired for 1000 Italian scudi by Peter Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany, becoming part of the future Uffizi Gallery. The original chapel was redecorated by a painting by Lorenzo di Credi; now in the church is a copy by Garibaldo Ceccarelli.

It was restored in 1995.

Description[edit]

The background, this time featuring two bays, is one of the many porticoes painted by Perugino in the 1480s and 1490s (in works such as the Fano Altarpiece or the Pietà. Also typical is the serene landscape with thin trees.

Mary sits on a high throne decorated with grotesques at the base, where it is also the signature PETRVS PERVSINVS PINXIT AN[NO MCCCCLXXXXIII. She holds the child on her kneels, who looks towards John the Baptist on the left; John, in turn, points at him. On the right is the common representation of St. Sebastian martyred by arrow, his contemplative glance directed to the sky.

The composition was one of the first examples in Florence of the new style of Holy Conversation elaborated in Venice by Antonello da Messina and Giovanni Bellini a few years before, with a pyramidal development pivoting on the central figure of Mary on a high throne. The painting is also one of the first by Perugino in which the Madonna is no longer an elegant maid, but a more mature and severe woman, according to the more sober climate introduced in Florence by Girolamo Savonarola. Another example of this evolution is the Madonna with Child with St. Catherine of Alexandria in the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna.

Sources[edit]

  • Garibaldi, Vittoria (2004). "Perugino". Pittori del Rinascimento (in Italian). Florence: Scala. 

External links[edit]