French School. Pupil of Carl Vernet. “Gericault was the prime spirit in the romantic movement that came to a head with Bonington and Delacroit.” (National Gallery Catalogue.)
THE RAFT OF THE “MEDUSA.” A huge canvas on which are depicted the sufferings of some sixty of the crew and troops who were crowded out of the Medusa’s boats when she was wrecked on her way to the Senegal in 1816. The picture was severely criticised for its daring realism and disregard of classical tradition, and it was only after Gericault’s death that the State acquired it at the price of 6,005 francs.
GHIRLANDAIO (Domenico), 1449-1494.
Florentine School. Domenico di Tournaso Bigordi, nicknamed Ghirlandaio from his designing garlands for festivals. Pupil of Alesso Baldovinetti.
THE VISITATION A simple composition of four figures. On the pavement of a vestibule, n front of a round arch that opens on to a landscape at the back, the Virgin, in a plain blue mantle fastened at her breast with a large brooch, stands nearly in profile to right leaning over St. Elizabeth, who kneels before her. On the right St. Mary Salome, a young figure, advances towards them with joined hands. On the left St. Mary Cleophas, full face, stands with her left hand holding her gown, and her right on her breast.
Painted for the Chapel of Lorenzo Tornabuoni in the Church of Cestello (now Sta Maria Maddelena dei Passi), Florence; in 1491. Brought to the Musee Napoleon in 1806.
AN OLD MAN AND A BOY By a window, through which is seen a landscape, an old man with a deformed nose, dressed in a red robe trimmed with fur, his head towards the right, looks down at his grandson, who in profile to left, with curly flaxen hair escaping from under a red toque, reaches up to kiss his grandfather. Figures bust length only.
THE ADORATION OF THE KINGS The Virgin in the centre, seated on a terrace with the Child on her knees, who turns towards the left, offering His foot to be kissed by Caspar, who kneels beside Him. Behind, next to St. Joseph, a page is crowning Melchior as he bends forward with his offering. To the left Baltasar kneeling, seen from behind, but turning his head to left towards us. In the background the retinues of the Kings, and in the ruins of a palace the ox and the ass.
Dated 1487. A “school repetition” with a slight variation is in the Pitti Gallery (No. 357).
THE VIRGIN AND CHILD WITH SAINTS The Virgin is seated on a high throne, turning slightly to the left, with the Child on her knees, who has an orb surmounted by a cross in His right hand, and with His left blesses St. Zenobius and St. Just, who are kneeling with a lily pot between them. On the right of the throne is the Archangel Raphael, and on the left St. Michael in a cuirass leaning on his sword. Round the throne are four angels holding lilies.
Painted for a church of the Jesuits near Florence.
VISION OF THE VIRGIN IN GLORY In the foreground are kneeling, on the extreme right and left respectively, St. John the Evangelist and St: Dominic, the latter holding an open book; and behind them, a little nearer the centre, stand St. John the Baptist and St. Michael, all four figures being turned about half towards the centre. Between the two latter is seen a road winding into the distant landscape, while above, with her feet on a level with their shoulders, is a vision of the Virgin seated with the Child on her left knee in a glory surrounded by cherubim, and supported above by a flying angel on either side, This is the centre of the grand altar-piece painted for the choir of Santa Maria Novella in Florence just before 1490. The wings, with the single figures of St. Catherine and St. Laurence, are Nos. 556 and 558 in this gallery. The paintings on the reverse, which are not considered as being from the hand of Ghirlandaio himself, are at Berlin; they are the Resurrection (No. 75), St. Vincent (No. 74), and St. Antonino (No. 76).