A group of Madonnas by Carpaccio and Bartolomeo Veneto
Fig. 7 / Infrared detail of fig. 1.
Fig. 8 / Vittore Carpaccio, Virgin
and Child, ca. 1485, oil on panel,
56 x 42 cm, Venice, Fondazione
Musei Civici.
A group of Madonnas by Carpaccio and Bartolomeo Veneto
In the meantime, however, the “2016” version (see
fig. 1) has re-emerged in a private collection in
Florence, and has undergone both conservation,
involving the removal of layers of repaint, and
technical examination by means of X-radiography
and infrared reflectography. Of particular interest,
apart from the revelation of the painting’s quality,
is the emergence of a fragmentary signature on
the foreground parapet, most clearly legible in
the reflectograph but also visible to the naked
eye: “… TOR(?) SCHARPAZ…” (fig. 7).
This corresponds closely to the artist’s name as it
appears in another recently discovered signature
Madonna in the Museo Correr, Venice (fig. 8);4 and
as on a third painting universally agreed to be one
of Carpaccio’s very earliest, the Salvator Mundi with
Four Saints (Fondazione Sorlini, Brescia), the artist
writes his name in Venetian, and not yet in Latin.
Since he had adopted Latin by the time of his
earliest dated work, the Arrival in Cologne of 1490
for the Life of Saint Ursula cycle (Venice, Gallerie
dell’Accademia), the Salvator Mundi is usually and
plausibly dated slightly earlier, to the late 1480s.
The Florence Madonna is, in fact, very close in
style to the Arrival in Cologne, and may accordingly
be dated to ca. 1488-1489;5 whereas the Correr
Madonna remains stylistically much closer to
Giovanni Bellini, and so probably dates from some
years earlier, perhaps ca. 1485. By contrast, the
Florence Madonna shows a new interest in another
master of an older generation, Alvise Vivarini, as
is particularly evident in the idea of showing the
Virgin and Child in a dark interior, with a window
to one side giving on to a view of landscape.


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