Sano di Pietro was a popular and highly prolific Sienese painter and illuminator, whose workshop produced numerous devotional images of the Madonna and Child, frequently shown in bust-length and accompanied by saints and angels. The close stylistic affinities between works attributed to Sano and the enigmatic Sienese artist known as the Osservanza Master may indicate that they represent a single artistic identity. It is also possible that the paintings attributed to the Osservanza Master are the product of a collaborative workshop to which these artists belonged. The Christ Child holds a goldfinch symbolizing the Resurrection, while resting his left hand on the embroidered collar of the Virgin’s dress. They are accompanied by Saints Jerome, Bernardino, John the Baptist, Anthony of Padua, and two angels. The design for the heads of the Virgin and Child reappears with some frequency in paintings by Sano’s workshop, suggesting the use of a cartoon (full-scale drawing) to transfer the image. The frame is carved in five sections and engaged to the panel. The same punch tools used to decorate the frame were employed in the halos of the saints and angels.
Earl of Ashburnham; R. Langton Douglas; Frank Channing Smith Jr., Worcester, MA, by 1925; [M. Knoedler & Co., New York], 1952; Julius Weitzner, 1954. Acquired by Robert Lehman before 1959.
Émile Gaillard. Un peintre siennois au XVe siècle: Sano di Pietro, 1406–1481. Chambéry, 1923, Pl. 30.
Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. Vol. 9, The Hague, 1929, p. 512.
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 500.
Mario Salmi. "Dipinti senesi nella Raccolta Chigi-Saraceni." La Diana, 8 (1933), p. 82.
Evelyn Sandberg Vavalà. "Early Italian Paintings in the Collection of Frank Channing Smith, Jr." Worcester Art Museum Journal , 3 (1937–1938), pp. 38, 40, no. 21.
The Lehman Collection. Exh. cat., Cincinnati, 1959, p. 16, no. 45.
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Central Italian and North Italian Schools. Vol. 1, London, 1968, p. 376.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art by artists born in or before 1865: A summary catalogue. Vol. 1, New York, 1980, p. 166.
John Pope-Hennessy assisted by Laurence B. Kanter inThe Robert Lehman Collection. Vol. 1, Italian Paintings. New York, 1987, pp. 146-147, no. 61.
Timothy J. Newbery, George Bisacca, and Laurence B. Kanter. Italian Renaissance Frames. Exh. cat., New York, 1990, p. 87, no. 62.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 58.
Timothy J. Newbery. The Robert Lehman Collection: Frames. Vol. 13, New York, 2007, pp. 24-5, no. 16.