Painter/Artist: Fra Bartolommeo

Florentine School. Pupil of Cosimo Rosselli.

LONDON, NATIONAL GALLERY.

THE VIRGIN AND CHILD WITH THE INFANT ST. JOHN The Virgin is seated on the ground in an open landscape. With her left hand she holds the Child, who is leaping forward to embrace the little St. John. The latter, holding the crossed staff, kneels on one knee before Him, while the Mother with her left hand presses his head towards that of her Son. In the background is a town.

Variants of this composition are in the Corsini Gallery at Rome, and in the collection of Sir Frederick Cook at Richmond.

Purchased from the Cavaliere Nicola Landolfi at Rome in 1900.

PARIS, LOUVRE

THE VIRGIN AND CHILD WITH SAINTS: A large altar-piece painted in 1511 for the Church of San Marco, Florence, but presented to the Bishop of Autun, Envoy of Louis XII, in the follow ing year. The Virgin is enthroned in an alcove under a green cloth which is supported by three angels, with the Child, crowned with flowers, at her left, giving the ring to St. Catherine, who kneels, with her back to us, at His side. Next to them are St. Peter, St. Vincent, and St. Stephen. On the right a girl is mounting the steps of the throne, next to whom is St. Bartholomew with another Saint. Between this group and the Virgin, behind, St. Dominic and St. Francis embracing each other.

A second version of this, dated 1512, is in the Pitti Gallery, Florence (see below).

THE ANNUNCIATION. The Virgin enthroned under an alcove between two columns, with a book in her hand. To the left are St. Paul leaning on his sword, St. John the Baptist holding his crossed staff, and St. Margaret kneeling. To the right is St. Mary Magdalene, kneeling, with a jar in her hands, and behind her St. Francis conversing with St. Jerome. Above are the Angel Gabriel and the Holy Spirit.

Signed and dated 1512. In the collection of Francis I.

FLORENCE, PITTI

THE VIRGIN AND CHILD WITH SAINTS. A second and larger version, dated 1512, of the altar-piece at the Louvre (see above) for the Church of San Marco, but with some variations and improvements, notably the four child angels holding up the circular canopy with its curtains, and another pair, with lute and viol, seated on the steps of the throne in the centre foreground.

“Great as the charm had been with which he had invested the group of the Virgin and Child (in the earlier picture), he now infused new elements of beauty into it by increased grace in the shape and air of the Virgin, and by contrasting the turn of her head and frame with that of the Infant. Then balancing the position of the two kneeling St. Catherines at the foot of the pedestal, and seating two boy angels with viol and guitar on the steps of the throne, he reared the well-known pyramid of distribution. He placed a fine St. Michael in armour and a St. Bartholomew erect in weighty position as mainstays on the foreground (left and right), uniting them by a circular chain of spectators in converse on the floor of the alcove.” (C. and C.)

LUCCA

THE VIRGIN OF MERCY A large altar-piece with a round top, painted in 1515 for the Dominican Fra Lombardi de’ Montecatani. The Virgin has risen from her marble throne, which is raised on several steps, and is standing with arms outstretched looking upwards, her cloak held widely out by two boy angels. Overhead three boy angels support a tablet inscribed MISEREOR SUP, TURBAM, above which rises the half-length figure of Christ, who looks downwards, with arms outstretched. On either side of the throne and behind it are grouped an unusually large number of figures.

“Here you have people of both sexes, of different ages, thoughtful, tenderly meditative, eagerly demonstrative. The patron on the right kneels nobly gentle, and full of faith, and hears the explanation of a Dominican pointing to the Madonna. Before them a mother in joyful ecstasy grasps her babe, whilst a curly infant peers over her shoulder in the cloak of the dame behind. Opposite to these (on the left) a kneeling female describes the scene to her child.”