Italian painters of the Renaissance strove to humanize their figures in order to narrow the gap between worshiper and divine personages. In Perugino's depiction of the Madonna and Child, no throne or cloth of honor is included to signify their exalted status, only discrete halos. A Renaissance viewer would have recognized that the red robe signifies that the Madonna is a sovereign and the personification of Divine Love. Her blue cloak, the symbolic color of Heavenly Love and Truth, is marked on the shoulder by a gold star, which refers to one of her titles, Stella Maris, "Star of the Sea and Port of Our Salvation." The lack of interaction between mother and baby and their aloofness keep this devotional Image from becoming entirely secularized.
Artist Pietro Perugino, Italian, 1450-1523
  • Madonna and Child
Date ca. 1500
Medium tempera on wood panel
Dimensions Framed: 50 1/8 × 42 1/2 × 5 1/4 inches (127.3 × 108 × 13.3 cm)
Unframed: 31 3/4 × 25 1/2 inches (80.6 × 64.8 cm)
Credit Line Bequest of Eleanor Clay Ford
Accession Number 77.3
Department European Painting
On View European: Medieval and Renaissance W232, Level 2 (see map)
Perugia, Collection Francesco Baglioni, 1784;
Florence, Giovanni Metzgar (dealer-1828);
Bavaria, Collection Ludwig I, King of Bavaria, by 1831;
Munich, Alte Pinakothek (acc. no. 1036), placed on deposit in 1850 following Ludwig I's abidcation in 1848;
Munich, Galerie Drey, (dealer--1925);
London/New York, Duveen Bros., (dealer--1925);
New York, Collection John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (acquired from Duveen in 1927 and returned to same dealer, by exchange, in 1930);
New York, Duveen Bros., (dealer--1930), from whom purchased by Edsel & Eleanor Ford;
Detroit, Collection Mr. and Mrs. Edsel B. Ford, 1932, and bequeathed by
Eleanor Clay Ford to the DIA in 1977.

Vol Dillis, G. Royal Collection Catalogue. Munich, 1838, p. 141.

Katalog der Gemäldesammlung. Exh. cat., Alte Pinakothek. Munich, 1901, p. 227, no. 1036 (2nd ed., 1920, p. 111, no. 1071 [1036]; 3rd ed., 1925, p. 117, no. 1071 [1036]).

Perugino. Masters in Art series, pt. 26, vol. 3. Boston, 1902, p. 38.

Williamson, G. C. Pietro Vanucci, called Perugino. London, 1900, p. 132 (notes that Morelli thought picture overcleaned, but in large part by artist). (See also 2nd ed., London, 1908, p. 132).

Crowe, J. A. and Cavalcaselle, G. B. A History of Painting in Italy, vol. 6. London, 1866, p. 267 (cf. also 1902 ed., p. 293).

Morelli, Giovanni, and Gustavo Frizzoni. Kunstkritische Studien uber italienische Malerei--Die Galerien zu München und Dresden. Leipzig, 1891, pp. 100–101 [see English ed., Italian masters in German galleries. A critical essay on the Italian pictures in the galleries of Munich, Dresden, Berlin, London, 1883]

Berenson, B. Central Italian Painters of the Renaissance. 2nd ed. London, 1909, pp. 217–223.

Venturi, A. Storia dell'arte italiane. Milan, 1913, vol. 7, pt. 2, p. 567 (considered picture studio work).

Crowe, J. A. and Cavalcaselle, G. B. A History of Painting in Italy: Umbria, Florence, and Siena. T. Borenius, ed. London, 1914, vol. 5, p. 369 (as badly damaged, but by Perugino).

Bombe, W. Perugino. Berlin/Stuttgart, 1914, pl. 255, p. 255 (as "doubtful attribution" to Perugino, probably studio work; at the time in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich).

Katalog der Älteren pinakothek zu München. Exh. cat., Alte Pinakothek. Munich, 1920, p. 111, cat. 1036.

Gnoli, U. Pietro Perugino. Spoleto, 1923, p. 57.

Katalog der Älteren pinakothek zu München. Exh. cat., Alte Pinakothek. Munich, 1925, p. 117.

Canuti, F. Il Perugino, vol. II. Siena, 1931, p. 364. (as studio work)

Venturi, L. "Contributi: A Pietro Perugino." L'Arte 3 (Sept. 1932): 422-3, fig. 6 (dated around 1500, in Edsel Ford Collection, Detroit).

Berenson, B. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 438 (in large part by the artist).

Loan Exhibition of Italian Paintings from the XIV to XVI Century. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1933, unpaginated, cat. 70, repr.

Van Marle, R. The Development of the Italian Schools of Paintings, vol. XIV. The Hague, 1936, p. 343, fig. 223 (in large part by artist, erroneously cited as in Rockefeller Collection, NY).

Camesasca, E. Tutta la pittura del Perugino. Milan, 1959, pp. 103-4 (in large part by artist).

Zeri, F. "Appunti sul Lindenau-Museum di Altenberg." Bolletino d'arte 49 (1964): 45-53, esp. p. 51.

Berenson, Bernard. Italian pictures of the Renaissance: a list of the principal artists and their works with an index of places. Central Italian and North Italian schools, vol. 1. London, 1968, p. 326 (in Edsel Ford collection).

Camesasca, E., L'opera completa di Perugino. Classici dell'arte 30. Milan, 1969, pp. 103-4 (in large part by artist).

"Antiques Show." Exh. cat., Liggett University. Detroit, 1977, pp. 81-85, repr.

"Annual Report" Bulletin of the DIA 56, no. 1 (1977): 9, 23, 27 (fig. 1).

City of Detroit. “Arts Department” Journal of the City Council. (May 5, 1977): 1060–1061, p. 1060.

"La Chronique des Arts Principales Acquisitions des Musées en 1977.” Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Supplement 1310 (March 1978): 41, no. 189, repr.

Pope-Hennessy, John. "The Ford Italian Paintings." Bulletin of the DIA 57, no. 1 (1979): 15-23, esp. pp 20-23, fig. 7 (essentially autograph, with minor studio intervention).

Cummings, Frederick J., ed. Selected Works from the DIA. Detroit, 1979, p. 65, color pl. xxi (ill.).

Christiansen, Keith. "Early Renaissance Narrative Painting in Italy." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 41, no. 2 (1983): 31-32.

Scarpellini, P. Perugino. Milan, 1984, p. 105, cat. 124, pl. 209.

Brown, D. A. Raphael's 'Small Cowper Madonna' After Cleaning. Urbino, 1984, p. 470, fig. 238a.

Pagden, S. Ferino. Die Kirchen von Siena. Munich, 1985.

Todini, Filippo. La pittura umbra: dal duecento al primo cinquecento. Milan, 1989, p. 141.

Henshaw, Julia, ed. A Visitor's Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1995, p. 178 (ill.).

Pietro Perugino: Master of the Italian Renaissance. Exh. cat., Grand Rapids Art Museum. Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, cat. 5, pp. 153-157 (color repr., p. 152) (entry by J.A. Becherer).

Minchilli, E. H. "Resurrecting a Renaissance Master." Art and Antiques 20, no. 10 (Nov. 1997): 63-69, esp. p. 69, color repr. (review of Grand Rapids exhibition).

Gavrilovich, Peter and Bill McGraw. The Detroit Almanac: 300 Years of Life in the Motor City. Detroit, 2000, p. 424 (ill.).

Boskovits, M., and Brown, D. A. Italian Paintings of the Fifteenth Century. Washington, D.C., 2003, p. 562, repr. (entry on NGA's Madonna and Child, 1939.1.215, by David Brown).

Secrest, Meryle. Duveen: a life in art. New York, 2004, p. 470.