Lorenzo di Credi (Italian, Florentine, ca. 1456–1537),
Madonna and Child with the Infant St. John and Two Angels
, ca. 1490
oil and tempera on wood panel, 35¼ in. diameter
Museum purchase, 1942.6
Lorenzo di Credi, whose workshop produced dozens of devotional paintings for wealthy Florentine homes during the blossoming years of the Italian Renaissance, first trained as a goldsmith. Beginning his career as a painter in the Florence studio of Andrea del Verrocchio, where his fellow pupils included the young Leonardo da Vinci, di Credi took over the shop after Verrocchio's death in 1488.
The subject of Joslyn's tondo (circular painting) was popular for devotional images produced at this time. The sweet faces of the figures, their devout manner, and the sharp separation between foreground and background provided by the artist's placement of the group within a dense botanical setting combine to form immediately recognizable elements typical of di Credi’s workshop. In Madonna and Child with the Infant St. John and Two Angels, the figures are presented as an ideal and miraculous vision, but at the same time, with great immediacy through the use of bright colors, lush textures, and realistic detail. The carpet of flowers, all symbolic, is one of the richest to be found in Renaissance painting. Here, for example, daisies signify innocence, violets humility. A hedge of white roses for purity and red roses for martyrdom separates the religious figures from the secular world represented by the city of Florence in the distance.