(b. 1494, Firenze, d. 1540, Paris)

Madonna Enthroned between Two Saints

Oil on wood, 169 x 133 cm
Museo Diocesano, Volterra

The painting was executed for the parish church of Villamagna near Volterra. Compared to the complexity of the contemporary Deposition the compositional solution of this painting, signed and dated in the lower left corner, at the foot of St John the Baptist, is regulated by a simpler scheme and a greater symmetry, an evident recall to classical tradition. Andrea del Sarto's Madonna of the Harpies is one of the most probable iconographical references for Rosso's painting as far as the general structure is concerned, and in the pose of the Virgin, who, firmly anchored to a supporting base, extends her knee forward and places her right arm around the Child clutching at her side. The figure of St Bartholemew with the book, who in Rosso's altarpiece looks towards the observer, recalls the St John the Baptist portrayed by Andrea del Sarto to the left of the Virgin and Child.