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ID number:  BIRBI-36.1
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Bartolommeo, Fra (1472-1517)
Title / Object name:  The Madonna and Child with Saints (recto) Two Figures (verso)
Object type:  Drawing
Place made:  Europe: Italy, Florence
Culture:  Italian
Date made:  about 1509
Materials:  Black and yellow chalk heightened with white on tinted paper
Measurements:  260 x 196 mm
Provenance:  Purchased by J.P Heseltine from G. Gomez, Valencia, Spain; sold to Messrs Colnaghi, 1914; purchased by Henry Oppenheimer, purchase for the Barber Institute at the Henry Oppenheimer sale, Christie's, 10 July 1936, lot 23.

A study for the altarpiece in the church of S. Marco, Florence, painted by Fra Bartolommeo in 1509 (now in the Uffizi). Other drawings are in the Uffizi, the Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, the Courtauld Institute, and elsewhere.

There are many differences between the composition of the present drawing and that of the picture, which has six saints instead of five, as in the drawing; the Holy Child is transferred in the picture to the Virgin's left arm, and the angel at the top of the drawing becomes in the picture a pair of flying putti, whose feet are higher than their heads. The drawing on reverse has not been connected with a surviving picture.

The Virgin and Child with Saints (recto): This elegant sketch is a preparatory drawing for Fra Bartolommeo’s altarpiece in the church of San Marco in Florence. Using black and yellow chalk, Bartolommeo traced a delicate, whimsical outline of the Virgin and Christ Child appearing on an elevated dais (stage). On a much smaller scale to the Florentine altarpiece, Bartolommeo has encapsulated the majesty and monumentality of the sacred figures. Outlines of curved soft lines and smudging on either side of the Virgin traces a mystical optical veil parted by flying cherubs who reveal the scene. The soft application of chalk has captured a sense of ephemerality and movement.

Inscriptions / Translations:  Recto inscribed (ink) lr corner '60'.

Notes:  Exhibited: 'The Barber Goes North', Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, UK, 15 October 2010 - 15 December 2010

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Bartolommeo, Fra
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