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Giovanni del Biondo

Virgin and Child in Majesty with God the Father, the Holy Ghost and Angels


Giovanni del Biondo
Active in Florence, 1356-1398


Virgin and Child in Majesty with God the Father, the Holy Ghost and Angels


About 1380


Tempera on wood


192.4 x 93.6 cm


Purchase, John W. Tempest Fund, inv. 1953.1093


Western Art

Giovanni was active in Florence and became a Florentine citizen. He was clearly influenced by Orcagna, who executed the great altarpiece for the Strozzi family chapel in Santa Maria Novella, as well as Orcagna’s brother, Nardo di Cione, who executed the frescoes in the same chapel. Giovanni’s figures are distinguished by their highly polished and firmly modelled, yet generalized and monumental forms, and their long, slender fingers. The artist’s use of strong, unmixed colours are at once decorative and abstracting. In our altarpiece, executed by his workshop during his maturity, these traits are moderated by the realism of details, such as the exposed teeth, the pattern and flow of the Child’s draperies, the strong, directed gaze of the Virgin and the shared look between the Christ Child and an angel, who offers him a goldfinch, symbolic of his resurrection but also humanizing his representation.

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