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Madonna and Child

Artist: Unknown Italian (Lombard) Artist Primary
Date: ca. 1485-1500
15th century
Dimensions: 11.5 x 8.88 in. (29.21 x 22.54 cm)
Dimensions Extent: overall
Object Type: Painting
Creation Place: Europe, Italy, Lombardia
Medium and Support: 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.


Fairfield University Art Museum, Fairfield, Connecticut, Out of the Kress Vaults: Women in Sacred Renaissance Painting, September 16-December 17, 2022


(Count Alessandro Contini Bonacossi [1878-1955] Rome-Florence); sold to Samuel H. Kress [1863-1955] on 1 September 1939 as Milanese Master; gift 1962 to the Museum of Art, Science and Industry, Bridgeport, CT; gift 2002 to the Bellarmine Museum of Art, Fairfield University [now called Fairfield University Art Museum], no. K578.


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Refers to the intellectual movement, style, and culture that originated in Italy in the late 14th century, spread throughout Europe, and culminated in the 16th century. Style is characterized by a deliberate reference to the art, architecture, literature, and ideals of Classical Rome and Greece.
Unique works in which images are formed primarily by the direct application of pigments suspended in oil, water, egg yolk, molten wax, or other liquid, arranged in masses of color, onto a generally two-dimensional surface.
public domain
Land owned and controlled by the state or federal government. Also, the status of publications, products, and processes that are not protected under patent or copyright.
Refers to the world religion and culture that developed in the first century CE, driven by the teachings of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Its roots are in the Judaic tradition and the Old Testament. The tenets include a belief in the death and redemptive resurrection of Jesus. The religion incorporates a tradition of faith, ritual, and a form of church authority or leadership.

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