Madonna and Christ Child with Saints; Crucifixion

Barnaba Agocchiari, detto Barnaba da Modena

Documented from 1361 until 1383


Tempera on wooden panel, 59 x 30cm

This signed painting was purchased by the Galleria Estense in 1862 from the Accademia di Belle Arti where it was part of the Puccini di Pistoia Collections. It forms the central part of a domestic altarpiece, an object that fourteenth century ateliers were often commissioned to make. Above the tender image of the Madonna and Child between Saint Giovanni Battista and Saint Catherine of Alexandria is a Crucifixion scene. Extremely refined in quality, this painting was created to provide a domestic devotional focus. Given the strong visual links with contemporary Bolognese painting (especially Vitale da Bologna’s work) this Modenese altarpiece may belong to the early period of Barnaba’s career, namely before 1361 when according to existing documents he arrived in Genoa.