Private collection, Turin, for more than 50 years
G. Kreytenberg, Andrea Pisano und die toskanische Skulptur des 14. Jahrhunderts (Bruckmann Verlag, München, 1984), pp. 114-115, pls. 210-213
H. W. Kruft, ‘Die Madonna von Trapani und ihre Kopien’ in Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, Vol. XIV (1970), pp. 297-322
This exquisite alabaster statuette is a mid fifteenth copy of the famous and revered fourteenth century life size marble Madonna and Child in the Basilica of Maria Santissima Annunciata in Trapani, Sicily attributed to Nino Pisano, made for the Carmelite Order. Devotion to the Trapani Madonna led to numerous later copies and reduced replicas, of which the present work is one. Nino (1315 – 1368) was trained by his father, Andrea Pisano, whom he succeeded as Capomaestro of the cathedral at Orvieto in 1349.
The elegantly draped Virgin supports the lively Christ Child on her left hip, his small right hand grasping his mother’s lapel as he gazes lovingly upwards, her gilded hair swept beneath her veil. The voluminous loops and folds of material, reflective of superior craftsmanship of a senior artisan, convey the sense of grace and refinement of the original model. Of superb quality and original condition with a rich ivory patina, extensive traces of gilding and even the red polychrome of the lips of the Christ Child surviving, this beautiful sculpture, unseen for more than half a century, is one of the very best examples of its type to appear on the international market in recent years.
We are grateful to Prof. Dr. Gert Kreytenberg, former Professor of Art History, Kunstgeschichtliches Institut, Ruhr-Universität, Bochum, for confirming the attribution of the work.