BARNABA DA MODENA

Modena, 1328 – 1386

Madonna of Humility

Circa 1370

Tempera on panel

180 x 95 cm.

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Cartari, was born in Modena although his forebears were from Milan. He was principally active in Liguria where he had an active workshop in the city of Genoa, and also in Piedmont. His formative period was notably influenced by Venetian painting with its byzantine precedents and by the context of painting in the city of Siena, which contributed to the development of a particular and unmistakable style that makes him one of the most outstanding figures of the Italian Trecento.

González Simancas published this Virgin of Humility when it was in the church in the town of Yecla, reproducing a photograph of it in his handwritten catalogue of the province of Murcia. He indicated its origins when he related it to Barnaba’s altarpieces in Murcia cathedral: the Altarpiece of the Madonna lactans (1367), commissioned with the patronage of the Manuel family, and the Saint Lucy Polyptych commissioned by the Oller family. The uniqueness and importance of this imposing Italian painting by Barnaba da Modena is unquestionable and it is one of the few works imported from Italy in the last quarter of the 14th century to have remained in Spain.

It follows the model of the Madonna lactans in Murcia cathedral in which Mary is shown half-length and breastfeeding the Infant Christ, a subject also depicted in another painting by the same Genoese workshop that was formerly in the Bolarin collection (present whereabouts unknown). Barnaba da Modena subsequently repeated this model of the Virgin breastfeeding the Christ Child with some slight variations in a small panel formerly in the church of San Francesco in Pisa, now in the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo.

José Gómez Frechina

Technical data

BARNABA DA MODENA

Modena, 1328 – 1386

Madonna of Humility

Circa 1370

Tempera on panel

180 x 95 cm.

Private collection, Madrid