Collection Online

Madonna and Child
(early 15th century)

Medium
oil, tempera and gold leaf on wood panel
Measurements
121.7 × 67.3 cm
Accession Number
557-4
Department
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Bequest of Howard Spensley, 1939
Gallery location
Not on display
About
Byzantine icons of the Mother of God were prized in medieval and early Renaissance Italy, where they were made a focus of Marian devotions. Over time Italian artists developed touching variations of their own on the venerated subject of the Virgin and Child. The Florentine painter Giotto (1266-/7–1337), ushered in a new and graceful Gothic naturalism, later adopted by Agnolo Gaddi and Giovanni Toscani. The inclusion of ‘pseudo-kufic’ script in decorative bands and in haloes is characteristic of Toscani’s devotional paintings, and reflects the popular belief that Medieval Middle-Eastern scripts were the same as those used in Jesus’s time and by early Christians.