Mariotto di Nardo    Italian    1394-1427
SN 7    Tempera on Panel    About 1400/10

by Robert Anderson. Docent. 2000

    Mariotto di Nardo was a Florentine painter who was active from 1394 to 1424. He was the son of a sculptor, Nardo di Cione, and retained an interest in sculpture which along with his rendering of plastic form in painting remain constant factors in his style. He was a very popular painter and his style was markedly different from his contemporaries.
    Around 1400 he painted fresco decoration of two of the most important churches in Florence - St. Maria Maggiore and Orsanmichele. He also about this time was commissioned to paint illuminated manuscripts
    Di Nardo's popularity was apparantly based upon his works of the late 14th century which introduced to Florence elements of Late Gothic taste, such as oblique perspective, nervous tension of the figures and deserted rocky landscapes.

    The subject is that of the Virgin and child in heaven surrounded by six angels who are seen adoring the mother and child.

    The painting is in the line and plane characteristic of late Gothic style which is meant to draw attention to the subject - Mother and child. There are six angels in the painting two of whom are playing on musical instruments and who are relatively lively. Two pairs of cherubs and the Dove of the Holy Spirit are in the uper third of the painting while the half-figure of God the Father is depicted in the pinnacle of the frame.   
    In this Gothic rendering the composition is rather rigid and formal. The background field is in gold with even lighting, there is no attempt at perspective and little movement is noted. The angels an either side of the Madonna and child are stacked one above the other.