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Mariotto Albertinelli

The Holy Family with the Adoration of the Child


Mariotto Albertinelli
Florence 1474 – Florence 1515


The Holy Family with the Adoration of the Child


About 1505


Oil and tempera on wood


89 cm (diam.)


Purchase, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Michal Hornstein, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' Volunteer Association, the Museum Campaign 1988-1993 and the Deirdre M. Stevenson Funds, inv. 2007.79


Western Art

Albertinelli was one of the prominent young Florentine artists at the beginning of the sixteenth century, when the most innovative trends synthesized into the re-conceptualization of the imitation of an idealised nature in a style known as the high Renaissance. Although less well known to us than Leonardo, Raphael or Michelangelo, working in Florence, Albertinelli and Bartolommeo, his friend and collaborator, were unique among the artists in profoundly comprehending the import of this innovation of style and vision. They express this understanding in an accessible and appealing language, without sacrificing its essential refined and complex terms. This painting, executed precisely at this crucial juncture in time, expresses this synthesis in sophisticated and direct terms. This monumental conception of this altarpiece within a tondo (round) format proclaims the new High Renaissance aesthetic. Set in a meadow, this adoration it suggests of a moment arrested during the Flight into Egypt. The Infant reclines against a bag which holds all of the Family’s possessions. The leaning figures of the Virgin and Saint Joseph embrace the Saviour. His position could have paralleled the altar beneath the tondo, on which the transubstantiated body of Christ would be offered. The curved landscape, whose lyrical tone complements the pastoral and reverential subject, and the tondo shape seem to extend the space into our physical realm.

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