: The Madonna and Child Being Crowned by Two Angels



Crowned by two Angels hovering above her, the Virgin is seated in front of a richly decorated classical architectural structure, characterized by side plates supporting an architrave embellished by fruit festoons and upon which, to the right, stands out a gracious vase of flowers; an oriental rug is arranged so as to cover the railing in front of which stands Maria. An opening in the lower part of the parapet reveals a fragment of the landscape, rocky on the left side and characterized by the presence of slender saplings and bushes on the right. The painting was auctioned at Christie’s in 1973 as a work of art of Maestro Esiguo, but in 1980 Anna Padoa Rizzo identified the anonymous painter as Alesso, the youngest son of Benozzo Gozzoli, who assisted his father in the execution of the Tabernacle of Visitation fresco of Caltelfiorentino. The faces of the figures, for example, are perfectly similar to other facial types perceptible in the fore mentioned Tabernacle of Caltelfiorentino, such as the one of the Angel holding a lily. For this reason, the crowned Virgin here under consideration may be chronologically positioned in a period in which Alesso was present in Certaldo, Cal d’Elsa, where he was working under commission of the Counts of Alberti, for whom he realized a Visitation in the very first years of the sixteenth-century. The work of art, originally in the Church of San Jacopo of Volriggiano and today in the Museum of Santa Verdiana in Caltelfiorentino, reveals itself to be very similar to this painting, both for the treatment of the figures and for the careful attention to the architectural details. Always evident in the style of Gozzoli’s Son is the way he rendered light in paintings. This was a feature particular to him from the early days alongside his father in works such as the Deposition at the Horne Museum in Florence or the Resurrection of Lazarus at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

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