Madonna with Child and little Saint John – Städelsches Kunstinstitut – Frankfurt
The panel, whose origin is unknown, depicts the Madonna and Child with Saint John in the foreground; the characters stand out on a hilly landscape barely visible behind them.
The Virgin, elegantly dressed in a red robe and a blue vest, both profiled with golden embroidery, recalls the Madonna and Child between Saint Rose and Saint Catherine (today at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna) and the Madonna and Child between Saint John the Baptist and Saint Catherine of Alexandria at the Musée du Louvre: the appearance of the face, simple and austere, recalls the feature of Chiara Fancelli, Perugino’s wife.
The Child, gently held by his mother while sitting on her knees, is tilting his head towards his cousin, the little Saint John, who, standing behind him, joins his hands to his chest as a sign of prayer.
The well-balanced composition creates a simple and severe atmosphere, perfectly following the spiritual climate of Savonarolian Florence of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, period of realization of this work.
The painting is currently preserved at the Stadelsches Kunstinstut in Frankfurt.