VIVARINI, Bartolomeo
(b. ca. 1440, Murano, d. ca. 1499, Murano)

Madonna and Child before a Red Curtain

Tempera on panel, transferred to canvas, laid down on panel, gold ground, 83 x 65 cm
Private collection

The painting is signed and dated on the cartellino lower right. Formerly, it was in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The panel was sold for the Acquisitions Fund in 2013.

By the time this panel was executed in 1472, Giovanni Bellini had taken over as the dominant artistic personality in Venice and his influence was felt almost immediately. Indeed, the design of the present panel, with its background curtain and supportive parapet beneath the Child, the majesty of the figures, and the archaic Byzantine feel of the Child clothed, is indebted to Bellini's Madonna Greca. In view of the artistic developments introduced by Bellini, the gold background would already have begun to seem somewhat retardataire, but it was a feature which Bartomoleo was to use repeatedly. The wide-rimmed halos are recurring features of Vivarini's style in the 1470s.