One of the fundamental symbols of Christanity is Madonna and Child. The Christian Church adopted the formula of “Mother of God” after some initial argument and opposition. Some of the earliest depiction of Mother and Child can be found in the Eastern Empire. The term Madonna is a medieval synonym for a noble or important woman. Western Christian art tradition uses this word liberally while portraying the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. The word has also been incorporated by the English or other European languages. However, the painting Madonna and Child specifically refers to a panel painting by an Italian Renaissance artist Duccio di Buoninsegna. This particular painting is also known as the Stoclet Madonna or Stroganoff Madonna.
The history of the painting
The painting ‘Madonna and Child’ is 8 feet in width and 11 feet in length. It beautifully depicts Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ bearing the infant Jesus. It was painted in tempera and gold on wood panel around the year 1300.
The painting was purchased for more than 45 million dollars by the Metropolitan Museum of
Art in November2004. The Painting has great historical value as it is amongst the few Doccio’s individual works of art.The painting is also sometimes referred to as the Stoclet Madonna after the name of the second recorded owner Adolphe Stoclet. After the death of Stoclet and his wife the painting was inherited by their son Jacques. His four daughters became the proud owner of the paintings in 2001. The ownership was transferred from the daughters to Met through a sale.
The Madonna and Child Controversy
According to Jemes Beck, Professor of Art History at the Columbia University, Duccio’s ‘Madonna and Child’ is a 19th century art work .In the words of Professor Beck, “We are asked to believe that the modest little picture represents a leap into the future of Western painting by establishing a plane in front of Mary and the Child. This feature, a characteristic of Renaissance not medieval pictures, occurs only a hundred years after the presumptive date of the picture ...”
However, art critics are not unanimous in this regard. Keith Christiansen, Met’s curator, after carefully examining the painting says that it is genuinely Duccio’s painting and a 14th century artwork. Christiansen therefore feels that “There is no reason to doubt the period and authenticity of the picture”.
The painting nevertheless has a mighty presence which easily captivates the eyes of the beholder. The painting portrays a lingering flavor of human interaction which makes it all the more convincing.