(b. 1494, Pontormo, d. 1557, Firenze)

Madonna and Child with St Anne and Other Saints

c. 1529
Oil on wood, 228 x 176 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

As time passed Pontormo moved toward an increasingly personal conception of the human figure, with small oval heads and smallish features upon elongated but also rather robust bodies. In this altarpiece, the colours are more full-bodied and deeper than in the Deposition.

The painting was executed for the convent of Sant'Anna in Verzaia, just outside Porta San Frediano in Florence. The theme of the Madonna and Child with St Anne, is especially revered in Florence, because of the expulsion of a tyrant ruler on St Anne's day. On 26 July, the saint's feast day, the painting marked the destination of a procession dedicated to the celebration of Florentine liberty. On this day the people remembered the revolution of 26 July 1343, which resulted in the overthrow and exile from Florence of the tyrant Walter de Brienne, Duke of Athens. It seems the painting was commissioned by the captain of the infantry and by other servants of the Signoria of Florence who are represented in the tondo beneath the group of the Holy Family.