(active 1389-1435 in Siena)


Tempera on panel
National Gallery of Art, Washington

The three panels, representing the Madonna and Child with the Blessing Christ (centre, 106 x 51 cm), Sts Peter and James Major (left, 93 x 45 cm), St Anthony Abbott and a Deacon Saint (right, 93 x 44 cm), were part of he same altarpiece.

The figures' solemnity and large bodies are characteristic of Martino's work. In the central panel, the Virgin and Child touch their pink cheeks together. This kind of representation is called the Virgin Glykophilousa, or "Virgin of Tenderness," a popular icon in the Byzantine East (glykos is Greek for sweet). Adding to the tender emotion in the figures' embrace is the soft modeling of their faces and Jesus's tug at the bodice of his mother's dress, indicating his desire to nurse. Inset above them is the Blessing Christ.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.