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Samuel H. Kress Paintings Collection

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Madonna and Child


Artist: Unknown Italian (Lombard) Artist Primary
Date: ca. 1485-1500
Dimensions: 11.5 x 8.88 in. (29.21 x 22.54 cm)
Object Type: Painting
Creation Place: Europe, Italy, Lombardia
Medium and Support: Tempera and oil on wood
Credit Line: Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation via The Discovery Museum, Bridgeport, CT
Accession Number: 2009.01.04
On View: Bellarmine Hall Galleries


Paintings of the Madonna and Child became immensely popular throughout Europe beginning in the 14th century. A panel of this size was likely used in a private devotional context. The Virgin Mary is depicted half-length holding the Christ Child, who grasps at her cloak as she tenderly touches her cheek to his face. Although painted with the relatively new medium of oil paint, the artist also added details in gold, including the halo, the highlights on Mary’s robe, and the star on her shoulder (which signifies her chastity before and after the birth of Jesus). The Latin inscription on her halo, BENEDICTVS FRVCTVS VENTRIS TVI, comes from Luke 1:42: “Blessed be the fruit of thy womb.”

This painting was part of the group of works donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation to the Museum of Art, Science and Industry in Bridgeport, CT in 1962. When that museum became the Discovery Museum in the early 1990's, the Kress paintings were transferred to Fairfield University, where they formed the core of what would become the Fairfield University Art Museum.



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