Fra' Bartolomeo della Porta - inv. 3042
This small panel, almost a miniature, was painted by the young Bartolomeo di Paolo. He took the name Fra' Bartolomeo in 1500, when he became a monk in the monastery of San Marco in Florence. The artist was one of the leading figures in the Florentine Renaissance and the Museum also has an important tondo by him (inv. 3491).
The Virgin is sitting on a massive throne with the Child in her arms. Behind them, a low parapet separates them from a landscape animated by small figures. The Virgin's eyes are lowered as she seems to calm the Child's liveliness with maternal affection. He proudly shows a bird in his hand. This iconography was very frequent and alludes to the Resurrection.
Note the careful study of the drapery that falls loosely around the Virgin's feet and the clean, almost cold, colour scale that highlights the division of planes.
The artist studied in the workshop of Cosimo Rosselli and by 1491 had already created a partnership with his companion Mariotto Albertinelli. This work dates to about 1495 and shows the influence of other great masters present in Florence at that time: Piero di Cosimo, Lorenzo di Credi and above all Leonardo da Vinci, evident in the stocky figure of the Child.