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Nardo di Cione
Standing Madonna with Child, c. 1350 - 1360
tempera on panel

Nardo di Cione appears to have been largely responsible for promulgating the standing Madonna form. As a monumental image of idealized beauty, the Institute's Madonna typifies Nardo's portrayal of women - tall, graceful, stately, with a profound sense of calm and a distant, enigmatic quality. Although the Christ Child touches his Mother's cheek in a gesture reminiscent of the affectionate relationship found in early 14th century Madonnas, she remains disconnected, gazing out at the viewer, instead of at Him.