UNKNOWN MASTER, Italian
(active 1260s in Florence)
Madonna del Popoloc. 1260
Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence
From the 13th century, the Carmelite oratory in Florence housed the miracle-working image known as the "Madonna del Popolo." Marian devotion in Santa Maria del Carmine was focused upon this image.
This monumental painting offered a full-length rendering of the Madonna and Child enthroned with angels, against a gold ground with Christ blessing in the gable above. Scholars consider it to be a thirteenth-century Florentine work by someone within the orbit of Coppo di Marcovaldo. The style is consistent with that found in paintings executed in Florence during the 1260s and 1270s, when a strong Byzantine influence prevailed in Tuscan art. In scale, the painting is comparable to the Maestà by Guido da Siena and a precursor of the larger Madonna and Child compositions that Duccio, Cimabue, and Giotto evolved.