Skip to contentSkip to navigation
Become a Member
Explore today's schedule
Visit MMFA for free by becoming a Member
Learn more
Back
Currently shown
Maître de la Nativité de Castello

Virgin and Child

Artist

Maître de la Nativité de Castello
Active in Florence, about 1445-about 1470

Title

Virgin and Child

Date

About 1460

Materials

Tempera and gold on wood

Dimensions

58.5 x 37 cm (approx.)

Credits

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Michal Hornstein, inv. 2008.6

Collection

Western Art

This well-documented masterpiece is by the Master of the Castello Nativity, a distinguished mid-fifteenth century Florentine artist. His paintings are very rare: less than thirty works are securely attributed to him. The early twentieth-century connoisseur, Bernard Berenson, first named the so-called Master of the Castello Nativity, based on his attribution of a group of paintings around a Nativity, now in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence. This artist was profoundly influenced by the famous Lippi and almost certainly was present in his studio. He tends to present figures in simple planar constructions, generally oriented frontally to the pictorial surface. The extraordinarily rich and fresh gilt brocade pattern behind the Virgin converts a traditional reference to the heavenly realm to an exquisite hanging before which the figures pose. The Infant holds a goldfinch; as goldfinches eat thistles and thorns, they are seen as an allusion to Christ’s crown of thorns and Passion. Thus the bird frequently appears as a “plaything” of the Infant Christ, underlining the connection between his Incarnation and Crucifixion.

A touch of culture to your inbox
Subscribe to the Museum newsletter

Bourgie Hall Newsletter sign up

This website uses cookies in order to optimize your browsing experience and for promotional purposes. To learn more, please see our policy on the protection of personal Iinformation