MASTER OF 1416
Active in Florence during the first quarter of the 15th century
Enthroned Madonna with Child
tempera on panel, 170×59 cm
This rather large panel with a gold background was painted by an artist identified in the 1960s by Federico Zeri. Zeri published his thoughts about this artist in an article in which he examined several works from the 14th or early 15th century that are in the Accademia Gallery.
Beginning with a painting in the Accademia collection, Madonna and Child with four Saints, that bears the date of 1416 Zeri identified a small group of paintings by the same hand. Among these were two lateral panels located in the Czartoryski Museum in Cracow (F. Zeri, Regarding the catalogue of Tuscan paintings from the 14th century in Florentine museums, in “Gazette des Beaux-Arts”, 71, 1968, pp. 65-78, fig.8). He was certainly also aware of the central panel, which is the panel we present here, as at that time it was in a museum in Ravello (note 11, p. 77). We know this because he had several photographs of the central panel, which are now in the Zeri photograph collection. One of these photos documents the restoration done on the panel that, at some previous but unidentified time, had eliminated an old overpainting which gave a Renaissance look to certain areas of the panel.
While the side panels now in the Czartoryski Museum depict St. James the Greater and the Archangel Saint Michael on one side and Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist on the other, the central panel depicts a solemn, stately Madonna holding the Child on her lap as he blesses the viewer. What sets this work apart is its traditional and conservative aspect, noted also by Zeri, which is evident, for example, in the early 14th century rendering of the throne. Zeri dated this work to the 1530s, presumably the final years of the artist’s lifetime, as it was characterized by a “return to archaic motifs” and had a certain similarity to works by Mariotto di Nardo.