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Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints Zenobius, John the Baptist, Reparata and John the Evangelist

Nardo di Cione

European Art

In 1348, the bubonic plague killed more than half the population of Florence, causing profound social, economic, and psychic devastation. In the plague’s aftermath Nardo di Cione painted this large altarpiece, likely for the Duomo, the most important church in the city. There is a red and white banner near Jesus, who holds a bird in his hand; both are symbols of the Resurrection, his future triumph over death. For devout Christian survivors of the pandemic, this would have been a powerful image of salvation.

The Duomo housed the relics of two of the saints depicted here: Zenobius (upper left), the first Bishop of Florence, and the city’s original patron saint, and the early Christian martyr Reparata (upper right).
MEDIUM Tempera and tooled gold on panel
  • Place Made: Italy
  • DATES mid 14th century
    DIMENSIONS 77 1/2 x 39 1/2 in. (196.9 x 100.3 cm) frame (estimated dimensions): 91 × 49 × 5 in. (231.1 × 124.5 × 12.7 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 1995.2
    CREDIT LINE Healy Purchase Fund B gift of Mrs. S. S. Auchincloss, James A. H. Bell, Mrs. Tunis G. Bergen, Mrs. Arthur Blake, Leonard Block, Mary A. Brackett, Mrs. Charles Bull in memory of Noel Joseph Becar, Sidney Curtis, Mrs. Watson B. Dickerman, Forrest Dryden, the Estate of George M. Dunaif, Marion Gans Pomeroy, Francis Gottsberger in memory of his wife, Eliza, bequest of Anne Halstead, Mrs. William H. Haupt, A. Augustus Healy, William H. Herriman, Mrs. Alexander Howe, Julian Clarence Levi, the Martin Estate, bequest of Emilie Henriette Mayr in memory of her brother and sister-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. George Mayr, Mrs. Richard Norsam Meade in memory of Margery Moyca Newell, Bernard Palitz, Richman Proskauer, Charles A. Schieren, the Estate of Isabel Shults, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel L. Silberberg, Austin Wolf, Mrs. Hamilton Wolf, and Mrs. Henry Wolf, by exchange
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Nardo di Cione (Italian, Florentine, active 1343-1356/1366). Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints Zenobius, John the Baptist, Reparata and John the Evangelist, mid 14th century. Tempera and tooled gold on panel, 77 1/2 x 39 1/2 in. (196.9 x 100.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Healy Purchase Fund B gift of Mrs. S. S. Auchincloss, James A. H. Bell, Mrs. Tunis G. Bergen, Mrs. Arthur Blake, Leonard Block, Mary A. Brackett, Mrs. Charles Bull in memory of Noel Joseph Becar, Sidney Curtis, Mrs. Watson B. Dickerman, Forrest Dryden, the Estate of George M. Dunaif, Marion Gans Pomeroy, Francis Gottsberger in memory of his wife, Eliza, bequest of Anne Halstead, Mrs. William H. Haupt, A. Augustus Healy, William H. Herriman, Mrs. Alexander Howe, Julian Clarence Levi, the Martin Estate, bequest of Emilie Henriette Mayr in memory of her brother and sister-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. George Mayr, Mrs. Richard Norsam Meade in memory of Margery Moyca Newell, Bernard Palitz, Richman Proskauer, Charles A. Schieren, the Estate of Isabel Shults, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel L. Silberberg, Austin Wolf, Mrs. Hamilton Wolf, and Mrs. Henry Wolf, by exchange, 1995.2 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1995.2_SL3.jpg)
    IMAGE framed, 1995.2_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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