Giovanni Battista Bertucci il Giovane,
Birth of the Madonna

Giovanni Battista Bertucci il Giovane,
Birth of the Madonna

Giovanni Battista Bertucci il Giovane, Nascita della Madonna
Tavola, cm. 246×142 + cornice 4 cm., n. inv. 157

In Bertucci’s painting, signed on the lower right and dated 1586, there is no intimacy of a birth, but rather a clamorous and overcrowded scene of the interior of a dwelling, in a two-dimensional vertical composition, closed and almost suffocated in a setting with no depth and filled with figures that cover every bit of space in three overlapping zones. In the first we find women occupied in tending to the new-born Mary, in the second her mother Anna is in her bed surrounded by other women with, to the side and distant, the only man present in the scene. In the third section, above, there is a group of little angels playing musical instruments in a stream of light.

A model for this painting was identified in the fresco with the Nativity of the Virgin painted by Andrea del Sarto in the Cloister of Vows (Chiostrino dei Voti) at the SS. Annunziata in Florence in 1514.

Another piece of information on the history of this painting was provided by Gian Marcello Valgimigli, who reported documents on the “censorial” intervention of Bishop Francesco Negrone (who held this position in the diocese of Faenza from 1687 to1697) imposing the summary covering of the audaciously visible bosoms of women.

 

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