The Madonna and Child enthroned with Saint Bernardino of Siena and Saint Clare of Assisi

WAG 1995.78


Alessandro Tiarini (1577-1668) was an Italian painter and godson of the painter Lavinia Fontana (1552 - 1614). He moved to Florence where he painted frescoes, facade decorations and altar pieces from 1599 to 1606, incuding 'Adoration of the Shepherds' in Pitti Palace. He later returned to Bologna where he created masterpieces such as a series of frescoes for the Brami chapel in the sanctuary of Basilica della Ghiara. It has been suggested that this drawing might be a preparatory sketch for a painting of the 'Madonna and Child enthroned with saints Bernardino of Siena and Clare of Assisi', now in the cathedral of San Lorenzo. The painting shows musical angels in the background and cherubs above, drawing back curtains to reveal the Virgin and Child enthroned below. The cathedral was built in 1780, in the small town of Abano Terme near Padua in the Veneto region of north-east Italy, and the painting's original location is unknown. Both Saint Bernardino (1380 - 1444) and Saint Clare (1194 - 1253) were followers of St Francis of Assisi (died 1226), so the original commission was presumably for a church or institution of the Franciscan Order.