Maestro di Roncaiette

Poplar board with tempera

Madonna of humility

Tempera on poplar panel

1425 - 1430


At the center of the table is depicted the Madonna seated in the middle of a garden holding the Child in her arms. The Virgin’s head is covered by a long cloak originally blue (now turned into a darker color) richly damask with golden embroidery, while the inside of her is in ermine fur. Her gaze is tenderly turned to Jesus, dressed in a red tunic and legs wrapped in white bandages. The Child approaches the left arm to the body of the Mother, while in the opposite hand of him he holds a small bird. The background is made of gold leaf, punched to create the elaborate halos.
The frame is made directly on the table and also gilded with gold leaf.

Dimensions: 48.5 x 69 x 3 cm

Historical-stylistic analysis:

As indicated in the report drawn up by Valentina Baradel, the work in question can be ascribed to the pictorial corpus of the master of Roncaiette, an artist active in the Venetian late Gothic period, whose first name he is not known, but so called by Roberto Longhi a starting with the polyptych preserved in the parish church of Fidenzio, in the hamlet of Roncaiette di Ponte San Nicolò, near Padua. Over the years it has been possible to approach this figure with a large number of pictorial works, for the most part distributed in the Paduan territory: precisely for this reason it would seem plausible to indicate the city as the seat of his workshop, albeit certainly affected by the influence of the nearby Venice and the Cortese Gothic.

In particular, our table shows the close stylistic links with the lagoon painter Zanino di Pietro, who characterized the final phase of his production, during which he licensed several works depicting the same subject, dealt with in similar ways both in the physiognomies and in the punched processing. of the halos.

The panel belongs to the typology of the Madonna of humility, depicting the Virgin sitting on the ground, usually in a garden, holding the Child in her arms. He is represented with a symbolism that prefigures martyrdom, as in our case, the red robe and the little bird (a goldfinch or a robin), predict the tragic fate that awaits him. The small size and the fact that it was born as an independent work, not cut from a larger painting or from a polyptych, indicate that it was a work intended for private clients, for personal devotion.

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