- Sano di Pietro
- Artist Dates
- Artist Nationality
- The Virgin in Adoration of the Christ Child with Saints Bernard and Bernardino and Angels
- 15th century
- tempera on panel
- 87.6 x 66 cm (33-3/4 x 25-1/4 in)
- K Number
- Mead Art Museum
- Accession Number
- AC 1961.83
Arthur Hamilton Lee, 1st Viscount Lee of Fareham [1868-1947], Old Quarries, Gloucester.  (Count Alessandro Contini Bonacossi [1878-1955] Rome-Florence); sold to Samuel H. Kress [1863-1955] on 12 June 1935; gift to the National Gallery of Art; deaccessioned 1952 and returned to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation; gift to Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, no. AC1961.83.  Not included in Tancred Borenius, A catalogue of the pictures, etc., at 18 Kensington Palace Gardens, London collected by Viscount and Viscountess Lee of Fareham, 2 vols. Oxford, privately printed, 1923-1926.
Sano di Pietro
The Virgin in Adoration of the Christ Child with Saints Bernard and Bernardino and Angels
Amherst, Mass., Amherst College, Study Collection (1961-83), since 1961.(1) Wood. 33 3/4 X 25 1/4 in. (85.7 X 64.2 cm.). Inscribed on the Virgin's halo: AVE GRATIA PLENA (from Luke 1:28); and on the Child's: [e]GO SVM (from John 8:12). Very good condition except for some restoration in gold background. In Sano's vast oeuvre, with its numerous repetitions of traditional compositions, the unusual iconography of K311 comes as a refreshing change.(2) An angel holds up the Child for the Virgin to adore, while Sts. Bernard and Bernardine kneel at left and right and a bevy of angels hover above. It is a late work, close in style to the Coronation at Gualdo Tadino, of 1473. Like that painting, K311 is overflowing with ornament: brocaded robes, floral wreaths, gaily colored angel wings, tapestried background, and Turkish carpet. The design of the carpet, with a repeat medallion enclosing a pair of long-legged eagles confronting a formalized tree, is based on an Anatolian type(3) well known in Siena, for it appears a century earlier in a painting by Lippo Memmi in the Berlin Museum and in at least two other paintings by Sano, the Marriage of the Virgin, in the Vatican, and the Assumption, in the Jarves Collection at Yale. Sano has taken greater liberty with his model in K311 than in his other two paintings, combining free floral motifs with the conventional medallions, here rectangular instead of the usual octagonal shape. Provenance: Viscount Lee of Fareham, London. Contini Bonacossi, Florence. Kress acquisition, 1935 – exhibited: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (274),1941-52.(4)
(1) Catalogue by C. H. Morgan, 1961, p. 8 (where there are errors in the data concerning provenance and exhibitions), as Sano di Pietro. (2) K311 is attributed to Sano by B. Berenson, G. Fiocco, R. Longhi (dating it very late), R. van Marle, F. M. Perkins, W. E. Suida, and A. Venturi (in ms. opinions). (3) E. Kühnel, Antique Rugs from the Near East, trans. by C. G. Ellis, 1958, pp. 27 ff (4) Preliminary Catalogue, 1941, pp. 178 f, as Sano di Pietro.