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Christ Blessing

Nardo di Cione

European Art

Previously known only through a nineteenth-century engraving, this panel was discovered at a country auction in Dorset, England, in March 2000. Thanks to the rapid accessibility of images on the Internet, within the course of one day scholars had identified the panel as the missing pinnacle of Nardo di Cione's altarpiece Madonna and Child with Saints Zenobius, John the Baptist, Reparata, and John the Evangelist. As the pinnacle to the larger panel, the Christ Blessing would have been located directly above the Madonna and Child with Saints, much like the arrangement of these subjects in the Museum's small traveling altarpiece by Maso di Banco. The altarpiece was cut into two pieces when transported from Italy to France in the early nineteenth century. The two panels, sold separately at auction in 1851, were reunited for the first time when Museum acquired the pinnacle in 2000.

Christ Blessing came to the Museum in the unusual hexagonal form in which it was reproduced in a nineteenth-century engraving, and with the accumulation of several centuries of dirt. However, the original trefoil (or cloverleaf) shape of this work can be gleaned from X-rays.

Once the pinnacle painting was removed from the altarpiece to be displayed as an object in its own right, the panel was slightly enlarged by nailing wood strips to the outside edge of the original shape, forming the present hexagon, as this X-ray demonstrates. The voids were then filled with gesso putty. Gilding and paint were added to extend the composition.
MEDIUM Tempera and tooled gold on panel
  • Place Made: Italy
  • DATES mid 14th century
    DIMENSIONS 8 x 9 in. (20.3 x 22.9 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 2000.27
    CREDIT LINE Purchased with funds given by The Dave H. and Reba W. Williams Foundation, Healy Purchase Fund B, and the Mary Smith Dorward Fund, gift of George S. Hellman, by exchange
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Nardo di Cione (Italian, Florentine, active 1343-1356/1366). Christ Blessing, mid 14th century. Tempera and tooled gold on panel, 8 x 9 in. (20.3 x 22.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by The Dave H. and Reba W. Williams Foundation, Healy Purchase Fund B, and the Mary Smith Dorward Fund, gift of George S. Hellman, by exchange, 2000.27
    IMAGE overall, 2000.27_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (89%)
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