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Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints Zenobius, John the Baptist, Reparata and John the Evangelist

Nardo di Cione

European Art

On View: Beaux-Arts Court, East, 3rd Floor
Nardo di Cione, along with his brother Orcagna, dominated Florentine painting in the second half of the fourteenth century. After the Black Death struck Florence in 1348—taking the lives of two-thirds of the population—artists reacted against the humanism championed earlier in the century by Giotto (1267–1337). In this pivotal moment, Nardo returned to the use of gold grounds, the traditional manner of representing the changeless luminosity of the eternal, while nonetheless continuing to explore Giotto's fascination with the character of the visible world.

Here, Nardo adopts the more "gothicizing" style that came to the fore after the Black Death. For example, a strongly hierarchical arrangement of figures—with the enthroned Madonna placed higher in the picture, and shown larger than the surrounding saints—indicates Mary's exalted devotional position. However, the figures also display the sensitivity of expression and three-dimensional tactility pioneered by Giotto.

Nardo likely painted this altarpiece for the Duomo in Florence, which housed the relics of Saint Zenobius (shown at the upper left) and whose original patron saint was Reparata (shown at the upper right) This work is considered by scholars to be the most important fourteenth-century altarpiece in America.
MEDIUM Tempera and tooled gold on panel
  • Place Made: Italy
  • DATES mid 14th century
    DIMENSIONS 77 1/2 x 39 1/2 in. (196.9 x 100.3 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Beaux-Arts Court, East, 3rd Floor
    ACCESSION NUMBER 1995.2
    CREDIT LINE Healy Purchase Fund B gift of Mrs. S. S. Auchincloss, James A. H. Bell, Mrs. Tunis G. Bergen, Mrs. Arthur Blake, Leonard Block, Mary A. Brackett, Mrs. Charles Bull in memory of Noel Joseph Becar, Sidney Curtis, Mrs. Watson B. Dickerman, Forrest Dryden, the Estate of George M. Dunaif, Marion Gans, Francis Gottsberger in memory of his wife, Eliza, bequest of Anne Halstead, Mrs. William H. Haupt, A. Augustus Healy, William H. Herriman, Mrs. Alexander Howe, Julian Clarence Levi, the Martin Estate, bequest of Emilie Henriette Mayr in memory of her brother and sister-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. George Mayr, Mrs. Richard Norsam Meade in memory of Margery Moyca Newell, Bernard Palitz, Richman Proskauer, Charles A Schieren, the Estate of Isabel Shults, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel L. Silberberg, Austin Wolf, Mrs. Hamilton Wolf, and Mrs. Henry Wolf, by exchange
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Nardo di Cione (Italian, Florentine, active 1343-1356/1366). Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints Zenobius, John the Baptist, Reparata and John the Evangelist, mid 14th century. Tempera and tooled gold on panel, 77 1/2 x 39 1/2 in. (196.9 x 100.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Healy Purchase Fund B gift of Mrs. S. S. Auchincloss, James A. H. Bell, Mrs. Tunis G. Bergen, Mrs. Arthur Blake, Leonard Block, Mary A. Brackett, Mrs. Charles Bull in memory of Noel Joseph Becar, Sidney Curtis, Mrs. Watson B. Dickerman, Forrest Dryden, the Estate of George M. Dunaif, Marion Gans, Francis Gottsberger in memory of his wife, Eliza, bequest of Anne Halstead, Mrs. William H. Haupt, A. Augustus Healy, William H. Herriman, Mrs. Alexander Howe, Julian Clarence Levi, the Martin Estate, bequest of Emilie Henriette Mayr in memory of her brother and sister-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. George Mayr, Mrs. Richard Norsam Meade in memory of Margery Moyca Newell, Bernard Palitz, Richman Proskauer, Charles A Schieren, the Estate of Isabel Shults, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel L. Silberberg, Austin Wolf, Mrs. Hamilton Wolf, and Mrs. Henry Wolf, by exchange, 1995.2
    IMAGE framed, 1995.2_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (91%)
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