Apollonio di Giovanni di Tommaso is also known as “The Virgil Master.” The artist’s pseudonym was given to him because he did numerous miniatures for a manuscript of Virgil’s “Aeneid” in the Riccardi Library in Florence. The melancholy of the Madonna is balanced by the infant Jesus who sweetly reaches for a rose offered by his mother. While two of the four little angels are in adoration, a third gazes off, enraptured by the sweet music of his mandola and the last, taking little notice of the central group, is wholly intent on the playing of his viola. The whole composition, placed on a golden background and containing only the essential figures, is reminiscent of a court scene in the pictorial tradition of the Renaissance, both for the richness and the thoughtful gravity of the expressions. This piece was donated by the Samuel H. Kress foundation in 1961.
-Susan Bonta, Class of 2019