After extensive conservation and restoration at the J. Paul Getty Museum, the New York Historical Society’s masterful “Madonna and Child Enthroned with Ten Saints: Maestá” has returned and is on view.
Painted in 1334 by Taddeo Gaddi, “Madonna and Child Enthroned with Ten Saints: Maestá” is a masterpiece of 14th-century Gothic painting. The jewel-like panels were subjects of outstanding restoration and conservation efforts by the J. Paul Getty Museum over the past two years. The piece, which belongs to the New-York Historical Society, made its triumphant return on December 11, where it takes “pride of place in a small focus exhibition highlighting its conservation treatment,” as the society notes.
The NYHS adds, “With its lavish gold leaf background, Gaddi’s panel was an expensive commission for a private Florentine palazzo and for its time was cutting-edge art. Originally the central section of a folding triptych consisting of three panels, it will be exhibited with two wings (sportelli) from a private collection that recently have been linked to it. Their similar dates, measurements, traces of hinges, and related iconographies suggest that the trio may once have been part of the same triptych. At the very least, seen together they help us to envision and reconstruct how the ‘Maestà’ appeared in its original glory. Thomas Jefferson Bryan bequeathed the Gaddi panel to NYHS in 1867, along with his entire collection. Bryan was an early connoisseur of Italian ‘primitives,’ i.e., painters before Raphael, a taste then avant-garde. As New York City’s first museum, New-York Historical Society wrote an early chapter in preserving the culture of the City, and Bryan played a pioneering role in its collecting history, amassing works by both European and American artists. Fittingly, Gaddi’s painting will be displayed with a several other fourteenth- and early-fifteenth-century Italian panels from the Bryan (both sacred and profane, such as a cassone front with the Triumph of Caesar) and Thomas Sully’s dashing portrait of the young Bryan. Other materials will illuminate this donor’s contribution to the history of American collecting.”
Gaddi’s “Maestá” will be on view through March 20. To learn more, visit the New York Historical Society.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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