Madonna and Child with a Male Saint, Catherine of Alexandria and a Donor
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Michelangelo di Pietro Membrini
Italian, about 1500
Tempera on panel
40 x 40 in.

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At the bottom left, a well-dressed donor looks up at the Virgin and Child above. He may be Michele Guinigi, who pledged himself to marry Caterina Buonvisi. Caterina may be featured in the guise of Saint Catherine, shown on the right with her broken wheel, the symbol of her martyrdom. The painting may, in fact, have been a gift celebrating the marriage between Guinigi and Buonvisi, both from prominent Italian families. The families' coats of arms are shown on the Madonna's throne.

All attention in the painting focuses on the Virgin nursing the robust infant Christ in the center. To the left, Saint Jerome bows his head in prayer.

This picture, formerly in the Lathrop collection in New York, was the linchpin for the reattribution of a group of works to a follower of Filippino Lippi. This obscure painter has recently been identified as Michelangelo di Pietro Membrini.