National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Bequest of Howard Spensley, 1939
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
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.