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Saints Presenting a Devout Woman to the Virgin and Child

Saints Presenting a Devout Woman to the Virgin and Child

1720s

Giovanni Battista Pittoni

(Italian, 1687-1767)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 185 x 149 x 6.5 cm (72 13/16 x 58 11/16 x 2 9/16 in.); Unframed: 172 x 135.5 cm (67 11/16 x 53 3/8 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1982.36

Description

A devout woman, shown at lower right, is presented by saints and an angel to the central Virgin and Child. In clockwise order from her is Saint Lucy, identified by the cauldron and sword at her feet; Saint Agnes, by the lamb; Saint Scholastica, by the dove she holds; and Saint Benedict, characterized by his crozier and Benedictine habit. Slightly below the central Madonna is Saint Veronica, whose head is covered. Behind Saint Veronica, Saint Anthony of Padua, wearing a Franciscan habit and holding a lily stalk, stands in a pose of adoration. Below Saint Anthony and next to the woman is an angel. The identity of the woman is uncertain, but she may be the painting's patron. Pittoni uses dramatic gestures and elegant drapery, while the soft treatment of light and rich colors reflect Pittoni's study of French Rococo art during his stay in France in 1720. In the crowded composition, Pittoni has emphasized the importance of the religious event. His experimentation with composition is evident in the legs of Saint Agnes's lamb; as the painting has aged, a third front leg that Pittoni had painted over has become visible.

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