MASTER OF SAINT IVO
active in Tuscany between 1390 and 1420 ca.
Madonna of Humility
dated: 1400 ca.
tempera on wood, cm 88×55
This panel is a classic Florentine ‘colmo’, or what we would call today a ‘capoletto’. These were images of the Madonna with Child, often represented alone or with other saints, destined for individual devotion and therefore preserved in homes or private places. There is a great abundance of this type of panels, proving their great success. This panel shows the ‘Madonna of Humility’, seated on a cushion on the ground. The infant Jesus is sitting on the legs of the mother, who is proffering her breast to the child. Mauro Minardi has attributed this painting to the Maestro di Sant’Ivo, a painter of the Florentine area and probably student under Agnolo Gaddi, who takes his critical name from the Saint Ivo who administers justice in Florence in the Palazzo di Parte Guelfa. He was a painter of the first generation of the Florentine late gothic, in parallel with Mariotto di Nardo, with whom he shares ways of rendering shapely volumes and squared- off draping.
The artist was probably at the head of a workshop specialized in these kinds of paintings, as shown by his impressive catalogue which holds around fifty paintings on panel, with rare exceptions. For this reason, it is difficult to establish a precise timeline for his work, but the comparison that can be drawn with the triptych of the Museo Civico di Pesaro, dated 1400, indicates a similar possible date for this panel as well.