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Madonna and Child Enthroned

Cristoforo Moretti , ca. 1460

Madonna in trono con Bambino di Cristoforo Moretti

This work is related to Saint Lawrence (inv. d.t. 728) and Saint Genesius (inv. d.t. 729).

The panels, that came to the Museum at different times, were part of a polyptych that originally was in the chapel of Sant’Aquilino at the church of San Lorenzo in Milan.

The Virgin and Child enthroned are flanked by the martyr saints Lawrence and Genesius. Genesius, rarely represented, here is playing the violin: he was a Roman actor and is the patron saint of actors and mime artists.

The polyptych included also a Saint Peter Martyr – now missing – and a Saint Lucy, a fragment of which is in the Longhi Foundation in Florence; part of the predella, with Stories of Saint Genesius, is in the municipal art collections in Bologna. The elongated and inexpressive figures seem suspended against the gold background and among rosebushes. Precious details enrich the composition: great oval haloes in relief surround their faces; the gold of the central panel is incised with cherubs; monochrome figures are visible on the throne; three putti sit on the spires swinging their legs, one sucking his thumb. This is the only work signed by Cristoforo Moretti, who worked for many years for the Sforza court during the 1460s in a style that continued to be inspired by the International Gothic style.

Data Sheet


Cristoforo Moretti, documented 1450-1486


ca. 1460

Material and technique

tempera nd gold on panel


117 cm x 53 cm



Inventory number

Lombard Rooms

The three rooms display Lombard paintings of the Renaissance, made during the years (1450-1535) when Milan and Lombardy were ruled by the Sforzas, who gave birth to one of the most splendid courts in Europe. They are mostly panels for private devotion, purchased by Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli in the later 19th century.

Beginning in 1450, Vincenzo Foppa helped give a new identity to Lombard art, and this renewal was joined in the last quarter of the 15th century by the presence in Milan of the Urbino architect Donato Bramante and the Florentine Leonardo da Vinci

Thanks to Leonardo, an artistic school developed that drew from his teachings the skilful use of sfumato, the careful study of nature, and the rendering of movement and the motions of the figures’ souls.

The rooms feature works by both his pupils such as Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, Marco d’Oggiono, and artists who compared themselves with him such as Bernardo Zenale, Giampietrino, Cesare da Sesto, Andrea Solario, and Bernardino Luini.

Since 1951 the tablets that decorated Palazzo Vimercati in Crema (c. 1500) have been displayed on the ceiling. They were a typical decoration on the ceilings of public and private buildings in Lombardy between the Gothic and Renaissance periods.

The new lighting was provided by the Associazione Amici del Museo Poldi Pezzoli.


The Museum hosts over 300 paintings. Among them, many Italian works from the Renaissance: masterpieces from Tuscany (Botticelli, Piero della Francesca, Pollaiuolo), Lombardy (Luini, Boltraffio, Solario) and Veneto (Bellini, Mantegna). Important is also the group of 18th century Italian painting (Guardi, Canaletto, Tiepolo, Fra Galgario). In the collection, there are mainly portraits and small size paintings.

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