Daddi, Bernardo (follower of)
Madonna and Child with Saints; Prophets (Pinnacles)
At the center of this altarpiece, the Virgin and Child share a tender exchange, as he affectionately pulls at her dress and cloak. Flanking the central pair are: a follower of St. Francis dressed in the habit of the order; a Christian martyr with a palm frond of victory; St. Michael holding his sword and the celestial orb as defender of the gates of heaven; and St. Benedict holding the Benedictan rule of his teachings. Taken together, these lay figures and defenders of faith represent the community of the faithful as the cornerstones of the church. The prophets in the pinnacles above reinforce the mission to preach and spread the word.
Bernardo Daddi was Florence’s premier artist of his generation. This work was likely made in his large workshop for the prominent, Florentine Rucellai family. It illustrates the master’s distinct ability to integrate elegance and dignity.