The J. Paul Getty Museum

Madonna and Child with Musical Angels

Object Details

Title:

Madonna and Child with Musical Angels

Artist/Maker:

Gherardo Starnina (Master of the Bambino Vispo) (Italian (Florentine), about 1360 - before 1413)

Culture:

Italian

Date:

about 1410

Medium:

Tempera and gold leaf on panel

Object Number:

82.PB.108

Dimensions:

92.1 × 51.4 cm (36 1/4 × 20 1/4 in.)

See more

See less

Object Description

The Virgin Mary, enthroned as Queen of Heaven, is surrounded by angels, some in attitudes of prayer, others playing musical instruments and singing. Twisting in his mother’s lap, the infant Christ reaches for a lily, a symbol of Mary’s purity, and clutches a goldfinch, an allusion to his future Crucifixion.

The scene is rich in detail and saturated color. Gherardo Starnina delighted in sumptuous surface effects, such as the brocaded fabrics, the marble footstool, and the patterned floor tiles. These decorative tendencies, together with the willowy forms of the figures, reflect Starnina’s extended sojourn in Spain, where he had absorbed the local refined stylistic approaches. He probably produced this work sometime after his return to his native Florence, after June 1401.

Before being identified as the documented Florentine painter Gherardo Starnina, this artist was known simply as the “Master of the Bambino Vispo” (Master of the Lively Child), a soubriquet which refers to his penchant for painting Madonnas with a wriggling Christ Child, as in this painting.

Provenance
Provenance
by 1927 - 1928

Marczell de Nemes von Janoshaza, Hungarian, 1866 - 1930 (Budapest, Hungary; Munich, Germany) [sold, Nemes sale, Frederik Muller & Cie., Amsterdam, November 13, 1928, lot 10, to Harold Sidney Harmsworth.]

1928 - 1940

Harold Sidney Harmsworth, 1st viscount Rothermere, 1868 - 1940 (Stody Lodge, Norfolk, England), by inheritance to Esmond Cecil Harmsworth, second viscount Rothermere, 1940.

1940 - 1946

Esmond Cecil Harmsworth, 2nd viscount Rothermere, 1898 - 1978 (Daylesford, Gloucestershire, England) [sold, Rothermere sale, Christie's, London, August 2, 1946, lot 22, to Alfred Scharf.]

1946 -

Alfred Scharf, British, born Germany, 1900 - 1965 (London, England)

- 1977

Baron Paul Hatvany, 1899 - 1977 (London, England), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1977 - 1980

Estate of Baron Paul Hatvany, 1899 - 1977 [sold, Hatvany sale, Christie's, London, July 11, 1980, lot 18, to Norman Leitman.]

1980 - 1982

Norman Leitman (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1982.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Exhibition of Italian Art, 1200 - 1900 (January to March 1930)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), January to March 1930
Bibliography
Bibliography

Marle, Raimond van. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. 19 vols. (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1923-38), vol. 9 (1927), p. 196.

"Zur Auktion Nemes." Pantheon 2 (September 1928), p. 450, ill.

Frederik Muller & Cie., Amsterdam. Collection Marczell de Nemes: Tableaux, tapisseries, emaux de Limoges, miniatures sur velin, bronzes, orfevrerie. November 13-14, 1928, p. 4, lot 10, fig. 10.

North, S. Kennedy. "Scientific Restoration of Old Masters-Part II." International Studio 92 (October 1930), pp. 44-45, ill.

Exhibition of Italian Art 1200-1900, exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1930), pp. 65-66, no. 72.

Balniel, Lord, and Kenneth Clark, eds. A Commemorative Catalogue of the Exhibition of Italian Art Held in the Galleries of the Royal Academy, Burlington House. 2 vols. (London: Royal Academy, Burlington House, with Oxford University Press, 1931), vol. 1, p. 19, no. 51.

Berenson, Bernard. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: A List of the Principal Artists and Their Works with an Index of Places. 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1932), p. 340.

Konody, Paul George. Works of Art in the Collection of Viscount Rothermere (London: n.p., 1932), unpaginated, no. 8, ill.

Borenius, Tancred. "Treasures from the Rothermere Collection-I." Apollo 22, no. 130 (October 1935), pp. 189-91, ill.

Berenson, Bernard. Pitture italiane del Rinascimento. Emilio Cecchi, trans. (Milan: Ulrico Hoepli, 1936), p. 277.

Pudelko, Georg. "The Maestro del Bambino Vispo." Art in America 26, no. 2 (April 1938), p. 53.

Longhi, Roberto. "Fatti di Masolino e di Masaccio." Critica d'Arte 5, no. 34, pt. 2 (1940), p. 184.

Friedmann, Herbert. The Symbolic Goldfinch: Its History and Significance in European Devotional Art (Washington, DC: Pantheon Books, 1946), p. 147.

Christie, Manson & Woods, London. Catalogue of Ancient and Modern Pictures. August 2, 1946, p. 5, lot 22.

Berenson, Bernard. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: A List of the Principal Artists and Their Works: Florentine School. 2 vols. (New York: Phaidon Press, 1963), vol. 1, p. 140, fig. 473.

Longhi, Roberto. "Un 'aggiunta al 'Maestro del Bambino Vispo' (Miguel Alcañiz?)." Paragone, n.s. 16, no. 185 (July 1965), p. 39.

Berenson, Bernard. Homeless Paintings of the Renaissance. Hanna Kiel, ed. (London: Thames & Hudson,1969), p. 147, fig. 256.

Waadenoijen, Jeanne van. "A Proposal for Starnina: Exit the Maestro del Bambino Vispo?" The Burlington Magazine 116, no. 851 (February 1974), p. 90.

Syre, Cornelia. Studien zum 'Maestro del Bambino vispo' und Starnina (Bonn: Rudolf Habelt, 1979), pp. 101-4, 166, 200, fig. 113.

Christie, Manson & Woods, London. Important Old Master Pictures. July 11, 1980, pp. 38-39, lot 18, ill.

Waadenoijen, Jeanne van. Starnina e il gotico internazionale a Firenze (Florence: Instituto universitario orlandese de storia dell'arte, 1983), pp. 45, 52, 54, 60, 69, 82, fig. 24.

Fredericksen, Burton B. "Recent Acquisitions of Paintings: The J. Paul Getty Museum." Burlington Magazine 127, no. 985 (April 1985), p. 261.

Eisenberg, Marvin. Lorenzo Monaco (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989), p. 58n60.

de Marchi, Andrea. Da Biduino ad Algardi pittura e scultura a confronto, exh. cat. (Turin: Antichi maestri pittori, 1990), pp. 21, 23, ill.

Rowlands, Eliot W. The Collections of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: Italian Paintings, 1300-1800 (Kansas City: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 1996), p. 83.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 121, ill.

Rothe, Andrea, and Giovanni Marussich. "Florentine Structural Stabilization Techniques." In The Structural Conservation of Panel Paintings. Proceedings of a Symposium at the J. Paul Getty Museum 24-28 April 1995. Kathleen Dardes and Andrea Rothe, eds. (Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute, 1998), pp. 312-14, figs. 10-12.

Harpring, Patricia. "The Language of Images: Enhancing Access to Images by Applying Metadata Schemas and Structured Vocabularies." In Introduction to Art Image Access: Issues, Tools, Standards, Strategies. Murtha Baca, ed. (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2002), pp. 36-37, fig. 17.

Vries, Anneke de. "Schilderkunst in Florence tussen 1400 en 1430: Een onderzoek naar stijl en stilistische vernieuwing." Ph.D. diss. (Universiteit Leiden, 2004), pp. 45, 92, 259, 307, fig. 45.

Rux, Benjamin. "Zwischen Valencia und Florence – Gherardo Starnina und die Cassone-Tafel mit dem Kampf orientalischer Reiter", Frühe italienische Malerei im Lindenau-Museum Altenburg, no. 4 (2017), p. 20, fig. 25.