Duccio di Buoninsegna (Italian, active by 1278–died 1318 Siena)
Tempera and gold on wood
Overall, with engaged frame, 11 x 8 1/4 in. (27.9 x 21 cm); painted surface 9 3/8 x 6 1/2 in. (23.8 x 16.5 cm)
Purchase, Rogers Fund, Walter and Leonore Annenberg and The Annenberg Foundation Gift, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, Annette de la Renta Gift, Harris Brisbane Dick, Fletcher, Louis V. Bell, and Dodge Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, several members of The Chairman's Council Gifts, Elaine L. Rosenberg and Stephenson Family Foundation Gifts, 2003 Benefit Fund, and other gifts and funds from various donors, 2004
Duccio is the founder of Sienese painting and one of the great figures of Western art. This lyrical work inaugurates the grand tradition in Italian art of envisioning the sacred figures of the Madonna and Child in terms appropriated from real life. The Christ Child gently pushes away the veil of his mother, whose sorrowful expression reflects her foreknowledge of his crucifixion. The beautifully modeled drapery enhances their three-dimensional, physical presence and the parapet connects the fictive, sacred world of the painting with the temporal one of the viewer. The bottom edge of the original frame is marked by candle burns.
Duccio is the key figure of Sienese painting and together with Giotto one of the great innovators of Italian art. Segna di Bonaventura, Ugolino di Nerio, Simone Martini, and Pietro Lorenzetti all probably spent time in his workshop (the MMA owns examples by each) and it is to Duccio that Sienese painting owes its particular character: a refined sense of color combined with an emphasis on a delicately calibrated expressivity. Duccio remained more attached to Byzantine models than Florentine artists, but he was also open to the influence of French ivories—highly prized at the time. His early work shows close affinities with that of Cimabue, but in his exploration of space he left the Florentine far behind. Whereas Giotto's space is always rigorously rational and serves to underscore the figurative content, Duccio's has a more emotional character and is sometimes audaciously expansive (see, for example, the Temptation of Christ in the Frick Collection, New York). Such was his reputation that he received one of the most important commissions in late thirteenth-century Florence: the so-called Rucellai Madonna (an enormous panel of the Madonna and Child enthroned now in the Uffizi, Florence). His double-sided altarpiece for the cathedral of Siena—the Maestà—is a landmark in the history of western art and includes on the reverse side numerous narrative scenes of the life of Christ of inexhaustible inventiveness.
The picture in the MMA is a small, devotional panel of exquisite facture. It first came to public attention at the landmark exhibition of Sienese art held at the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena in 1904 (see Logan 1904, Perkins 1904). Its provenance is unknown prior to its acquisition by Count Gregori Stroganoff (1829–1910), a Russian expatriate who amassed a notable collection of antiquities in Rome in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Subsequently the painting entered the celebrated collection of the Belgian banker and industrialist Adolphe Stoclet (1871–1949), and remained with his heirs until acquired by the Metropolitan Museum in 2004. The picture, in its original, engaged frame, was an independent object and did not form part of a diptych: x-rays reveal no sign of hinges, but a damage at the top of the reverse side of the panel is evidence of a hanging device. The two blackened areas along the bottom of the frame are burns, presumably from candles lit below the picture.
The most novel feature of the painting is the illusionistic parapet, based on the fictive architectural surrounds of the frescoes of the life of Saint Francis in the Basilica of San Francesco, Assisi, a cycle that dates to the years of the papacy of Nicholas IV (1288–92). The parapet displays an obvious interest in pictorial space as a means of relating the fictional, sacred realm of the painting to the world of the viewer/worshipper and eliciting from him or her an empathetic response. It is not known when Duccio visited Assisi, but since it was one of the most frequented pilgrimage places in Italy as well as a unique site of artistic innovation and exchange, he may have visited it on more than one occasion. Moreover, for the nearby city of Perugia Duccio painted an altarpiece, of which only the central panel survives (Galleria Nazionale, Perugia). No less important is the emphasis Duccio places on touch: the child's grasp of his mother's veil, her left index finger bent under a fold of his robe, and the way Christ's right foot gently makes contact with his mother's wrist and sleeve. French ivories probably inspired the motif of the Child grasping his Mother's veil and perhaps also the free-hanging veil that falls in elegant folds. Such details confer a tactile quality on the painting that further responds to the emphasis in thirteenth-century devotional practice on experiencing sacred figures as real. By establishing a new spatial and physical relationship with the viewer, Duccio's picture encourages precisely this kind of mental attitude.
There is still no consensus on the precise chronology and attribution of Duccio's paintings. His only two securely dated works are the Rucellai Madonna (Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence), commissioned in 1285, and the Maestà for Siena cathedral, documented to 1308–11. This leaves more than twenty years of activity without a single certainly documented work. Moreover, both the Rucellai Madonna and the Maestà are large, formal, public commissions, quite different in character from Duccio's exquisitely intimate paintings for private devotion. Despite this situation, there has developed a consensus that the work closest to the MMA painting in style, figure type, and spatial interests is the Perugia Madonna and Child. The MMA and Perugia paintings, together with the triptych of the Madonna and Child with Saints Dominic and Aurea (National Gallery, London), and what is probably a companion triptych at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, all suggest a pivotal moment in Duccio's career: one that lays the groundwork for the great achievement in the narrative panels of the Maestà. Given the very sparse visual and documentary evidence we have, the Metropolitan's picture, which seems to be the earliest in the group and the one in which the echoes of Assisi are most clear, can only be dated broadly to the decade ca. 1295–1305, although probably closer to the earlier date than to the later.
Examination of the panel with infrared reflectography has revealed a fine underdrawing for the drapery of the Virgin (see Additional Images, fig. 1). [Keith Christiansen 2012]
Count Grigoriy Sergeyevich Stroganov, Palazzo Stroganov, Rome (by 1904–d. 1910); his daughter, Princess Maria Grigorievna Scerbatov, and her children, Prince Vladimir Alekseevich and Princess Aleksandra Alekseevna, Palazzo Stroganov (1910–all three d. 1920); Prince Vladimir's widow, Princess Elena Petrovna Scerbatov, and their children, Princess Olga Vladimirovna and Princess Maria Vladimirovna, Palazzo Stroganov (1920–23; sold to Sangiorgi); [Sangiorgi, Rome, 1923; ?sold to Stoclet]; Adolphe Stoclet, Brussels (1923–d. 1949); private collection (1949–2004)
Siena. Palazzo della Repubblica. "Antica arte senese," April–August 1904, no. 1960 (as "Madonna col Bambino," by Duccio, lent by Conte Gregorio Stroganoff, Rome).
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Italian Art, 1200–1900," January 1–March 8, 1930, no. 2 (lent by Adolphe Stoclet, Brussels) [commemorative ed., 1931, no. 5].
Paris. Petit Palais. "Exposition de l'art italien de Cimabue à Tiepolo," 1935, no. 147 (lent by Adolphe Stoclet, Brussels).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Duccio's 'Madonna and Child'," December 21, 2004–March 13, 2005, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions," October 24, 2008–February 1, 2009, online catalogue.
Corrado Ricci. Il Palazzo Pubblico di Siena e la mostra d'antica arte senese. Bergamo, 1904, p. 68, mentions it as "una 'Madonnina' duccesca".
F. Mason-Perkins. "La pittura alla mostra d'arte antica in Siena." Rassegna d'arte 4 (October 1904), p. 145, ill. (with added frame) [similar text as Burlington Magazine, September 1904], accepts the attribution to Duccio; relates it to an early Madonna and Child adored by monks ("Madonna of the Franciscans," Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena), dating it slightly after the Siena picture.
F. Mason Perkins. "The Sienese Exhibition of Ancient Art." Burlington Magazine 5 (September 1904), p. 582 [similar text as Rassegna d'arte, October 1904], accepts the attribution to Duccio; relates it to an early Madonna and Child adored by monks ("Madonna of the Franciscans," Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena), dating it slightly after the Siena picture.
Mary Logan. "L'exposition de l'ancien art siennois." Gazette des beaux-arts, 3rd ser., 32 (1904), p. 210, accepts the attribution to Duccio.
C. Placci. Letter to Corrado Ricci. April 9, 1904 [Biblioteca Classense, Ravenna, Carteggio Ricci, "Arte senese. Mostra 1904," vol. 1, doc. 56; see Ref. Stella 2001], writes that Stroganov has brought this work and a Simone Martini ("Virgin Annunciate"; Hermitage, St. Petersburg) to Florence, and would like to have the two pictures included in the upcoming exhibition in Siena.
Emil Jacobsen. Sienesische Meister des Trecento in der Gemäldegalerie zu Siena. Strasbourg, 1907, p. 22, pl. VI (cropped), accepts the attribution to Duccio and calls it an early work.
A[dolfo]. Venturi. Storia dell'arte italiana. Vol. 5, La pittura del Trecento e le sue origini. Milan, 1907, p. 556, mentions it among other early works, calling it close to Duccio's triptych of the Madonna and Child in the National Gallery, London.
J[oseph]. A[rcher]. Crowe and G[iovanni]. B[attista]. Cavalcaselle. A History of Painting in Italy: Umbria, Florence and Siena from the Second to the Sixteenth Century. Ed. Langton Douglas. Vol. 3, The Sienese, Umbrian, & North Italian Schools. London, 1908, p. 20 n. 2, Douglas lists it as by Duccio, from his first, Byzantine, period; as in the Stroganov collection, Rome.
Bernhard Berenson. The Central Italian Painters of the Renaissance. 2nd ed., rev. and enl. New York, 1909, p. 163, lists it as by Duccio, in the Stroganov collection, Rome.
[Joseph Archer] Crowe and [Giovanni Battista] Cavalcaselle. A New History of Painting in Italy from the II to the XVI Century. Ed. Edward Hutton. Vol. 2, The Sienese School of the XIV Century; The Florentine School of the XV Century. London, 1909, p. 17 n. 6, Hutton lists it as by Duccio, in the Stroganov collection, Rome.
N. Wrangel and A. Troubnikov. "Les tableaux de la collection du comte G. Stroganoff à Rome." Starye Gody (March 1909), ill. opp. p. 116.
Antonio Muñoz. La collezione Stroganoff. Rome, 1910, p. 5 [see Ref. Kalpakcian 2005].
Curt H. Weigelt. Duccio di Buoninsegna. Leipzig, 1911, p. 163 n. 1, pp. 164–65, pl. 44, relates it to the London triptych.
Antonio Muñoz. Pièces de choix de la collection du comte Grégoire Stroganoff. Vol. 2, Moyen-Âge—Renaissance—Époque Moderne. Rome, 1911, p. 9, pl. I.
V. Lusini. "Catalogo dei dipinti." Rassegna d'arte senese 8 (1912), p. 140, no. 5 [reprinted as "In onore di Duccio di Buoninsegna," Siena, 1913], as by Duccio, in the Stroganov collection; states that it has a remade frame, and erroneously that it was originally the central panel of a triptych; notes its similarity to the London triptych, which he attributes to the school of Duccio.
Mostra di opere di Duccio di Buoninsegna e della sua scuola: catalogo. Exh. cat., Museo dell' Opera del Duomo. Siena, 1912, p. 40, no. 7 (of list of exhibited photographs), as in the Stroganov collection, Rome.
[Curt H.] Weigelt inAllgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Ulrich Thieme. Vol. 10, Leipzig, 1914, p. 27, dates it between 1280 and 1290.
Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. Vol. 2, The Sienese School of the 14th Century. The Hague, 1924, pp. 14–15, fig. 4, dates it probably before 1295, assigning it to a transitional period between the early works and the Maestà.
Bortolo Ghiner [Roberto Longhi]. "Ancora del disfacimento della collezione Stroganoff." Vita artistica 1 (February 1926), p. 24, discussing the dispersal of the Stroganov collection, mentions that the fate of the Duccio is not known.
Emilio Cecchi. Trecentisti senesi. Rome, 1928, p. 127, pl. XII (cropped) [English ed., London, 1931, p. 147, pl. XII (cropped)], as in the Stoclet collection, Brussels; dates it about 1295, at the beginning of Duccio's mature period.
Curt H. Weigelt. Sienese Painting of the Trecento. Florence, 1930, pp. 7–8, pl. 11, notes a close relationship to Byzantine icons, with which Duccio must have come into contact during the last decade of the thirteenth century; mentions the detail of the Child reaching for his Mother's veil and the framing device of the painted parapet.
Victor Lasareff. "Duccio and Thirteenth-Century Greek Icons." Burlington Magazine 59 (October 1931), p. 169, includes it with the London triptych and the Maestà as examples of the artist's "later style", which "is unthinkable without allowing for Duccio's coming into renewed and direct contact with Byzantine monuments".
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 176.
Bernard Berenson. Letter to Edward Fowles. September 29, 1933, on the possibility of acquiring works from the Stoclet collection, writes "First and foremost the little Duccio 'Madonna' from the Stroganoff collection. It is the very loveliest and yet the most characteristic thing he ever did, I doubt whether a more precious painting of a primitif exists. It is a treasure you should dive for, and let no one snatch away".
Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 152.
Roberto Longhi. "Giudizio sul Duecento." Proporzioni 2 (1948), p. 37 [reprinted in "Opere complete di Roberto Longhi," vol. 7, Florence, 1974, p. 33].
Edward B. Garrison. Italian Romanesque Panel Painting. Florence, 1949, pp. 17, 55, no. 77, ill., dates it 1290–1300 and calls its state excellent; notes that Adolphe Stoclet acquired it in 1923 from the Stroganov collection.
Pietro Toesca. Il Trecento. Turin, 1951, p. 512, calls the design less gothicizing than that of the London triptych.
Cesare Brandi. Duccio. Florence, 1951, pp. 34–36, 138 n. 19, pl. 24 (cropped) [reprinted in "Pittura a Siena nel Trecento," ed. Michele Cordaro, Turin, 1991, pp. 25–27, 82 n. 19, pl. 9 (cropped)].
Enzo Carli. Duccio. Milan, 1952, unpaginated, pl. 35 [English ed., Milan, (1954)], notes that the corbels of the parapet may be based on those at Assisi [see Ref. Stubblebine 1979].
Paolo d'Ancona. Duccio. Milan, 1956, p. 8, pl. 7 (cropped).
John White. Art and Architecture in Italy: 1250–1400. Baltimore, 1966, pp. 156–57, calls it close to the Maestà in its combination of Gothic and Byzantine elements, and its balancing of figural and architectural forms; notes that the facial types are very close to those in the London triptych; suggests a date at the beginning of the fourteenth century.
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Central Italian and North Italian Schools. London, 1968, vol. 1, p. 116, as in the collection of Jacques Stoclet, Brussels.
Francesco Santi. Dipinti, sculture e oggetti d'arte di età romanica e gotica. Rome, 1969, p. 43, under no. 16.
Edi Baccheschi inL'opera completa di Duccio. Milan, 1972, p. 87, no. 14, ill., dates it about 1300; notes evidence of repainting, especially in the tunic of the Christ Child.
V. N. Lazarev. Starye ital'ianskie mastera [Old Italian Masters]. Moscow, 1972, pp. 13–14, pl. 7.
James H. Stubblebine. Duccio di Buoninsegna and His School. Princeton, 1979, vol. 1, pp. ix, 8, 10–11, 20, 27–31, 63–64, 78, 110, 113, 124–25, 161; vol. 2, fig. 40 (slightly cropped), as whereabouts unknown; dates it to the 1290s; states that Offner examined it and presumably found hinge marks on both sides of the frame, since he called it the center of a tabernacle whose wings had disappeared; finds the resemblance to the Siena Madonna superficial, but notes a close relationship to the London triptych; states that the corbels of the parapet were inspired by Cimabue's frescoes of the 1270s in the Assisi choir; notes its connection to the Madonna and Child with Four Angels (National Gallery, London; Follower of Duccio), which he attributes to Duccio, in the use of the white veil and the gesture of the Child.
Denys Sutton. "Robert Langton Douglas, VI: An 'annus mirabilis'." Apollo 109 (April 1979), p. 314, fig. 43 (cropped).
John White. Duccio: Tuscan Art and the Medieval Workshop. [New York], 1979, pp. 62–63, figs. 4, 30, as in a private collection, Brussels; dates it about 1295–1300, between the Madonna of the Franciscans in Siena and the London triptych; states that it is unknown whether the work was originally flanked by additional panels, or was located within an external architectural setting, or was an independent panel; calls it the first depiction of a Madonna behind a painted parapet; finds that the greatest influence on the treatment of the drapery is the sculpture of Giovanni Pisano.
Enzo Carli. La pittura senese del Trecento. [Milan], 1981, pp. 43–44.
Keith Christiansen. Gentile da Fabriano. Ithaca, N.Y., 1982, p. 42.
Florens Deuchler. Duccio. Milan, 1984, p. 216, no. 7, includes it among works from Duccio's circle, noting that he has not seen the original; tentatively lists it as in a private collection, Brussels.
Hayden B. J. Maginnis. "Pietro Lorenzetti: A Chronology." Art Bulletin 66 (June 1984), p. 192, compares it with Pietro Lorenzetti's Madonna and Child in SS. Stefano e Degna, Castiglione d'Orcia, stating that Lorenzetti's picture "must ultimately derive from a model like the Stoclet 'Madonna' by Duccio".
Luciano Bellosi. La pecora di Giotto. Turin, 1985, pp. 132, 179, pl. 160, as formerly Stoclet collection, Brussels.
Mojmir S. Frinta. "Searching for an Adriatic Painting Workshop with Byzantine Connection." Zograf 18 (1987), p. 13 n. 6, refers to the parapet as a row of consoles fictively supporting the image, and relates this feature to the tradition in Constantinople of displaying miraculous images as palladia above the city gates.
Giovanna Ragionieri. Duccio: catalogo completo dei dipinti. Florence, 1989, pp. 10–11, 40–41, no. 8, ill., as whereabouts unknown; states that the parapet is based on Giotto's series from shortly after 1290 depicting the story of Saint Francis in the basilica at Assisi.
Walter Angelelli and Andrea G. De Marchi. Pittura dal Duecento al primo Cinquecento nelle fotografie di Girolamo Bombelli. Milan, 1991, p. 291, under no. 603, pl. XVIII (cropped), publish a forgery after this work which excludes the parapet.
F[erdinando]. Bologna inDizionario biografico degli italiani. Vol. 41, Rome, 1992, p. 746.
Joseph Polzer. "Pietro Lorenzetti's Artistic Origin and His Place in Trecento Sienese Painting." Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen 35 (1993), pp. 72–76, fig. 1, attributes it to Duccio or a close associate; compares it with Pietro Lorenzetti's Madonna and Child in Castiglione d'Orcia.
Francis Haskell. "Old Master Exhibitions and the Second 'Rediscovery of the Primitives'." Hommage à Michel Laclotte: Etudes sur la peinture du Moyen Age et de la Renaissance. Milan, 1994, p. 563.
Dillian Gordon inThe Dictionary of Art. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 9, New York, 1996, p. 348, as untraced; includes it with works "attributed to Duccio by some scholars, though without universal agreement".
Andrea G. De Marchi inPinacoteca di Brera: addenda e apparati generali. Milan, 1996, pp. 90–92, under no. 58, discusses it in the catalogue entry for a copy after it in the Brera.
Enzo Carli. Duccio. Milan, 1998, p. 21, ill. p. 20.
Jens T. Wollesen. "The Case of the Disappeared Stoclet Madonna." Pantheon 56 (1998), pp. 4–9, fig. 1, erroneously believes that it was probably the left wing of a diptych and that the frame is probably modern; suggests a date of about 1300 or slightly later; argues that the Madonna's gesture with her right index finger refers to the Eucharist; states that it is based on the Byzantine Hodegetria Madonna, and that the parapet is related to this iconography.
Gianni Mazzoni. Quadri antichi del Novecento. Vicenza, 2001, pp. 90, 112 n. 9, fig. 212.
Victor M. Schmidt inAllgemeines Künstlerlexikon: die bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker. Vol. 30, Munich, 2001, p. 156, as formerly Stoclet collection, Brussels; dates it about 1300.
Eleonora Maria Stella. "Cronache da Siena: la mostra d'antica arte senese del 1904." Ricerche di storia dell'arte no. 73 (2001), pp. 15, 20 n. 18, as in an unknown private collection in Belgium; quotes from the letter from Placci to Ricci recounting Stroganoff's request to have this picture included in the 1904 Siena exhibition [see Ref. Placci 1904].
Andrea G. De Marchi. Falsi primitivi: prospettive critiche e metodi di esecuzione. Turin, 2001, pp. 109, 185–86 nn. 23, 24, pl. XV, publishes five forgeries after this painting.
Luciano Bellosi inDuccio: alle origini della pittura senese. Ed. Alessandro Bagnoli et al. Exh. cat., Santa Maria della Scala, Siena. Milan, 2003, pp. 135–36, 139, 145 nn. 80–81, fig. 37 (color), as in a private collection; illustrates details of the corbels by Cimabue (fig. 38) and Giotto and workshop (fig. 39) from San Francesco, Assisi.
Victor M. Schmidt inDuccio: alle origini della pittura senese. Ed. Alessandro Bagnoli et al. Exh. cat., Santa Maria della Scala, Siena. Milan, 2003, p. 198, under no. 30.
Luciano Bellosi inDuccio: Siena fra tradizione bizantina e mondo gotico. [Milan], 2003, pp. 120, 129 nn. 80, 81, p. 200, ill. p. 201 (color) and fig. 37.
Victor M. Schmidt inDuccio: Siena fra tradizione bizantina e mondo gotico. [Milan], 2003, p. 196.
Alessandro Bagnoli inDuccio: Siena fra tradizione bizantina e mondo gotico. [Milan], 2003, p. 293.
Luciano Bellosi and Giovanna Ragionieri. Duccio di Buoninsegna. Florence, 2003, pp. 20, 22–24, ill. [published as an insert to Art e Dossier no. 193 (October 2003)].
Carol Vogel. "The Met Makes Its Biggest Purchase Ever." New York Times (November 10, 2004), pp. E1, E7, ill. (overall in color and detail in black and white).
Michael Kimmelman. "Duccio Gem Perched Between Artistic Eras." New York Times (December 20, 2004), pp. E1, E9, ill. (color, overall and detail), calls it "a sweet and melancholy masterpiece buoyed by grace" and "a miracle of preservation".
Luciano Bellosi. "La lezione di Giotto." Il Trecento. Ed. Max Seidel. Florence, 2004, pp. 99–100, fig. 98.
Varduì Kalpakcian. The New Acquisition of The Metropolitan Museum of Arts [sic]—Duccio's 'Madonna' from the Roman Collection of Count G. S. Stroganoff. , pp. 1–11, provides detailed provenance information for the period following Count Stroganov's death in 1910; thinks that Stroganov probably acquired the work in the late 1890s; mentions, without providing the source, an unverified account that Stroganov found the picture in a shop in Tuscany, had it restored, and himself attributed it to Duccio.
Marco Grassi. "The Metropolitan Duccio." New Criterion 23 (February 2005), pp. 77–80.
Calvin Tomkins. "The Missing Madonna." New Yorker (July 11 & 18, 2005), pp. 42, 44, 46, 48–49, ill. (color), provides information on the provenance of the picture after Stoclet's death in 1949.
Keith Christiansen in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2004–2005." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 63 (Fall 2005), pp. 14–15, ill. on cover (color, cropped) and p. 14 (color).
Paola Mercurelli Salari inArnolfo di Cambio: una rinascita nell'Umbria medievale. Ed. Vittoria Garibaldi and Bruno Toscano. Exh. cat., Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria, Perugia and church of Sant'Agostino, Orvieto. Milan, 2005, p. 254, under no. 47.
Victor M. Schmidt. Painted Piety: Panel Paintings for Personal Devotion in Tuscany, 1250–1400. Florence, 2005, p. 105 n. 103, pp. 141–45, 155, 158–59 n. 9, fig. 90, discusses the painted parapet, suggesting that Duccio may have been inspired by actual as well as painted architecture; notes that the panel in Duccio's Maestà depicting Christ among the Doctors contains corbels similar to those in the parapet in the MMA painting.
Lucia Simona Pacchierotti inIl segreto della civiltà: La mostra dell'Antica Arte Senese del 1904 cento anni dopo. Ed. Giuseppe Cantelli et al. Exh. cat., Palazzo Pubblico, Museo Civico. Siena, 2005, pp. 60, 68 n. 75, fig. 2 (reproduction of Ref. Perkins 1904).
Pierre Rosenberg. Only in America: One Hundred Paintings in American Museums Unmatched in European Collections. Milan, 2006, p. 20, fig. 27 (color).
James H. Beck. From Duccio to Raphael: Connoisseurship in Crisis. Florence, 2006, pp. 13–15, 17–20, 31, 48 n. 5, p. 82 n. 18, pp. 139–76, colorpl. 6, fig. 6.1 (detail), outlines a theory purporting that this picture is a forgery.
Keith Christiansen. "The Metropolitan's Duccio." Apollo 165 (February 2007), pp. 40–47, figs. 1 (color), 2–4 (color, black and white photographs), 5 (color, reverse), 6 (color, side), 7 (x-radiograph), 8 (infrared detail), dates it about 1295–1305; compares it with Duccio's Maestà in the Kunstmuseum Bern: both small, independent panels made for private devotion; discusses the results of scientific examination of the panel; suggests the influence of French ivories on "the new sweet style" seen here, as well as on the loose veil falling in graceful folds; finds it closest to Duccio's Madonna and Child of about 1300–1305 in the Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria, Perugia.
Miklos Boskovits. "Da Duccio a Simone Martini." Medioevo: la Chiesa e il Palazzo. Ed. Arturo Carlo Quintavalle. Milan, 2007, p. 573, fig. 25, illustrates it with an icon with a similar parapet by a Venetian painter of about 1270–80 (San Marco, Venice), suggesting that this illusionistic detail derives from a Byzantine prototype rather than from the work of Cimabue or Giotto at Assisi.
Keith Christiansen. "Duccio and the Origins of Western Painting." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 66 (Summer 2008), pp. 3, 27–28, 42–45, 47–48, 50–53, 55, fig. 36 (color), dates it about 1295–1300; notes the presence of an inscription on the back of the panel reading "Segna [crossed out] ? della Buoninsegna"; discusses the importance of the illusionistic parapet, inspired by Giotto's illusionistic framework in the Upper Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi, calling it the "earliest surviving example in Tuscan painting" and noting that it "redefined the relation between the viewer and the sacred figures of the Madonna and Child"; states that Duccio foreshortened the corbels of the parapet so that the ideal viewpoint is that of a worshipper kneeling in prayer before the picture; discusses the Madonna's drapery, noting that it may have been inspired by a sculptural source, suggesting the work of Nicola Pisano who himself revived the forms of ancient Roman sculpture; relates Duccio's art to the "dolce stile nuovo" (sweet new style) developed by Dante.
Varduì Kalpakcian. "Appendix: Duccio's 'Madonna and Child' and the Collection of Count Grigorij Sergeevich Stroganoff." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 66 (Summer 2008), pp. 56–59, fig. 50.
Philippe de Montebello. "Director's Note." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 66 (Summer 2008), p. 2, recounts the circumstances surrounding the Museum's acquisition of this picture.
Ada Labriola inMaestri senesi e toscani nel Lindenau-Museum di Altenburg. Ed. Miklós Boskovits and Johannes Tripps. Exh. cat., Complesso museale. Siena, 2008, p. 155, mentions it as a prototype for Giovanni di Paolo's Madonna and Child of 1440–45 (Lindenau-Museum, Altenburg; inv. 76), where the Child makes a similar gesture with his right hand.
Keith Christiansen inPhilippe de Montebello and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977–2008. New York, 2009, p. 36, fig. 47 (color).
Varduì Kalpakcian. "La passione privata e il bene pubblico; il conte Gregorio Stroganoff: collezionista, studioso, filantropo e mecenate a Roma fra Otto e Novecento." Il collezionismo in Russia da Pietro I all'Unione Sovietica. Ed. Lucia Tonini. n.p., 2009, pp. 97, 105 n. 82.
Angelo Tartuferi inGiotto e il Trecento: "Il più Sovrano Maestro stato in dipintura". Ed. Alessandro Tomei. Exh. cat., Complesso del Vittoriano, Rome. Milan, 2009, pp. 75, 82 n. 6, fig. 5 (color).
Old Master & 19th Century Paintings, Drawings & Watercolors: Part I. Christie's, New York. January 27, 2010, p. 8, under no. 1.
Lynley Anne Herbert. "Duccio's Metropolitan Madonna: Between Byzantium and the Renaissance." Arte medievale, 4th ser., 1 (2010–11), pp. 97–119, fig. 1 (color), sees it as closer to Byzantine tradition, in both form and function, than to the Renaissance.
Dillian Gordon. The Italian Paintings Before 1400. London, 2011, pp. 154, 197–98, 201 n. 47, pp. 483, 485 n. 12, fig. 15 (color).
Nicholas H. J. Hall inRenaissance. Christie's, New York. January 30, 2013, p. 23, fig. 15 (color).
Marco Grassi. "The Passionate Eye." New Criterion 33 (December 2014), p. 15.
Andrea Bayer. "Collecting North Italian Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art." A Market for Merchant Princes: Collecting Italian Renaissance Paintings in America. Ed. Inge Reist. University Park, Pa., 2015, p. 87, mentions that Jean Paul Richter was trying to acquire this picture for the Museum in 1911.
Miklós Boskovits. Italian Paintings of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries: The Collections of the National Gallery of Art, Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 2016, p. 79.
Kathryn Calley Galitz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings. New York, 2016, pp. 128, 132, no. 70, ill. pp. 65, 128 (color).
The original engaged frame is from Siena and dates to about 1290 (see Additional Images, figs. 2–4). This extraordinary artifact is made of poplar with mitred corner construction. Though severely degraded it retains its original burnished water gilding on a dark red bole and gesso ground. The molding profile characterized by a chamfered sight edge and double hollow within a flat fillet at the top edge is based on architectural stone profiles. The frame furthers the illusion of the parapet incorporated in the painted panel. Singed burns in the wood at the base attest to the devotional history of the object.
[Timothy Newbery with Cynthia Moyer 2017; further information on this frame can be found in the Department of European Paintings files]
See De Marchi 2001 for illustrations of five forgeries after this painting, none of which include the illusionistic parapet that appears along the bottom of the original. One of these forgeries is now in the Museum's collection (2005.476.1).
The center panel of a polyptych attributed to Ugolino di Nerio (ca. 1315–17; Cleveland Museum of Art) depicts a Madonna and Child that is quite close to the MMA work. Ugolino is presumed to have been a pupil of Duccio, by whom he was greatly influenced.