Madonna Adoring the Child with Musical Angels

Object Details


Madonna Adoring the Child with Musical Angels


Bernardino Zenale (Italian, about 1456 - 1526)




about 1502


Oil on panel


143.5 x 85.7 cm (56 1/2 x 33 3/4 in.)

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Arms crossed in veneration, a youthful Virgin Mary bows her head and looks solemnly at her infant son. He in turn looks out and makes the sign of benediction toward her. In a strikingly human gesture, an angel gently holds the shoulder and side of the unsteady child, ensuring that he does not topple forward. Angels on either side of the scene play musical instruments; a trio of angels above kneel on a cloud and sing in accompaniment. The scene takes place under a vaulted ceiling supported by pilasters with Corinthian capitals. Bernardino Zenale's modeling of the figures and his depiction of a misty landscape derived from Leonardo da Vinci's style.

This painting was originally the central panel of an altarpiece in the chapel of the Immaculate Conception in San Francesco, Cantù, Italy. The two side panels depicting various saints are now in museums in Milan.

about 1502 - 1777

Convento dei Francescani (Cantù, Italy), possibly commissioned from the artist.

- 1873

Michele Cavalieri (Milan, Italy), sold to Enrico Cernuschi, 1873.

1873 - 1900

Enrico Cernuschi (Paris, France) [sold, Cernuschi sale, Chevallier, Duchesne, Paris, May 25, 1900, lot 81.]

by 1923 - 1929

Sir Joseph Benjamin Robinson, 1st Bart., 1840 - 1929 (London, England; Hawthornden, Cape Peninsula, South Africa) [unsold, Robinson sale, Christie's, London, July 6, 1923, lot 34], by inheritance to his daughter, Princess Ida Louise Labia, 1929.

1929 - 1961

Ida Louise, Princess Labia, 1879 - 1961 (Cape Town, South Africa), by inheritance to her sons Count Natale Labia and Dr. Joseph Labia.

1961 - still in 1962

Natale, Count Labia

1961 - still in 1962

and Dr. Joseph Labia

- 1971

French and Company, Inc. (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1971.

The Robinson Collection. Paintings from the Collection of the Late Sir J. B. Robinson, Bt., Lent by the Princess Labia (July 2 to September 14, 1958) (Cat. 19)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), July 2 to September 14, 1958
The Sir Joseph Robinson Collection. Lent by the Princess Labia (1959) (Cat. 3)
  • National Gallery of South Africa, (Cape Town), 1959
Sammlung Sir Joseph Robinson, 1840 - 1929. Werke europäischer Malerei vom 15. bis 19. Jahrhundert (August 17 to September 16, 1962) (Cat. 2)
  • Kunsthaus Zürich, (Zurich), August 17 to September 16, 1962
Zenale e Leonardo: Tradizione e Rinnovamento della pittura Lombarda (December 4, 1982 to February 28, 1983) (Cat. 1c)
  • Museo Poldi Pezzoli, (Milan), December 4, 1982 to February 28, 1983