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Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist

Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist

Defendente Ferrari

Defendente Ferrari was active in the northwest region of Italy called the Piedmont in the first half of the sixteenth century. He executed many commissions for patrons whose artistic tastes remained conservative compared to the artistic innovations taking place in Florence and Rome at the time. This monumental devotional painting, or altarpiece, showing the enthroned Virgin and Child flanked by two saints and music-making angels is called a sacra conversazione (holy conversation). The figures are depicted as if inside a church, which would have echoed the painting’s original setting. Based on Defendente’s other works, this painting may have been the central section of a larger, two-tiered altarpiece with multiple panels, called a polyptych.
Defendente Ferrari
(active Italian, ca. 1500 - 1535)
Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist
ca. 1525
Oil on wood panel
91 x 60 in. Overall
Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation
Accession No.


Unknown date, acquired by Henry Pelham Archibald Douglas Pelham-Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, 7th Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme (1864-1928); 4 June 1937, sold following his death by Christie’s auction house (London, England) (lot. 29, attributed to Vicenzo Foppa); 4 June 1937, purchased from this sale by Giuseppe Bellesi (London, England). 16 September 1938, sold by Alessandro Contini- Bonacossi (Rome and Florence, Italy) to Samuel H. Kress (New York, NY); September 1961, gifted by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation (New York, NY) to the University of Wisconsin Madison; 1967, transferred to Elvehjem Art Center [now called Chazen Museum of Art]

  • Baumann, Barry. "The Treatment of Defendente Ferrari's 'Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints and Angels.' " Bulletin/Annual Report 1987-1988. Elvehjem Museum of Art (1990): 4-11. pp. 4-11
  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Handbook of the Collection." Elvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Madison, 1990. no. 25
  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Artscene." Vol. 2, No. 3, May/June 1986. p. 1
  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Artscene." Vol. 3, No. 4, July/August 1987. p. 1
  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Elvehjem Museum of Art Bulletin/Annual Report 1987-1988." Elvehjem Museum of Art, 1989 p. 4
  • National Gallery of Art Library. “Image Collections.” NGA Library - Image Collections. National Gallery of Art Library. Accessed September 24, 2020.
  • William Suida. “Contributo alla conoscenza delle pitture piemontesi in America.” Bollettino della Società Piemontese di Archeologia e di Belle Arti, vol. VIII–XI (1954–1957): 82-93. p. 88, fig. 82
  • Shapely, Fern Rusk. "Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Italian Schools XV-XVI Century." London: Phaidon Press, 1968. p. 24, fig. 56

  • Caring for the Collection: Restoration Progress Report: Elvehjem Art Center, 11/2/1972–1/3/1973

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