Art Object and Holy Image: The Attribution and Contextualization of the "Madonna and Child" by a Follower of Pietro Lorenzetti
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We primarily experience paintings en masse on the walls of museums, yet this greatly limits our experience of the artworks. Collecting and displaying religious art in particular always requires removing the object from the home that imbues it with meaning. This thesis takes the Late Medieval painting of the Madonna and Child hanging in the Armstrong Browning Library and places it back within its art historical and liturgical context of fourteenth-century Siena. First, I shall recount the history of Marian devotion in Siena and the stylistic development of altarpanels alongside it. Then I shall describe the painting’s identification as a holy image by indicating its lineage to Byzantine icons and by showing what ways the image can be “read” according to contemporary devotion. I will end by showing my connoisseurship research that seeks to identify the anonymous artist and to give a more definite dating to the painting.