Given its scale, this Madonna and Child enthroned with Saints Barbara, Dominic, John the Baptist and Anthony Abbot by the Florentine Renaissance painter, Giovanni dal Ponte, would likely have been intended for private devotion. Angelo Tartuferi, to whom we are grateful, published the painting in his catalogue accompanying the Florence exhibition on the artist (loc. cit.) and dates it between 1420 and 1425, a moment when the artist’s work was marked by the influence of Masolino and Massaccio (written communication, 8 September 2020).
Gaetano Milanesi noted a mention of one Giovanni di Marco, recorded by Giorgio Vasari as ‘Giovanni dal Ponte’ or ‘Giovanni of the Bridge’ (G. Vasari, Le vite de' piu' eccellenti pittori, scultori ed architettori, G. Milanesi ed., Florence, 1878, I, p. 633, note no. 2). This playful sobriquet was likely due to the proximity of the artist’s workshop to the church of Santo Stefano al Ponte (beside Florence’s Ponte Vecchio) where he would eventually be buried. Milanesi’s initial identification permitted a preliminary reconstruction of the painter’s oeuvre by Carlo Gamba and Pietro Toesca in 1904 (C. Gamba, ‘Giovanni dal Ponte’, Rassegna d'Arte, IV, 1904, pp. 177-186; P. Toesca, ‘Umili pittori fiorentini del principio del Quattrocento’, L'Arte, VII, 1904, pp. 49-58). While it was traditionally thought Giovanni trained in the workshop of Spinello Aretino, Miklòs Boskovits considered it more likely that he learned from a variety of artists, absorbing the influence of contemporary painters such as Lorenzo Monaco and Gherardo Starnina (M. Boskovits, The Martello Collection, Florence, 1992, pp. 82-83).