Art: Rediscovered Madonna

"Here is eternal fame!" exclaimed 16th century Artist and Chronicler Giorgio Vasari of Simone Martini, the Sienese painter who lived 200 years before Vasari's time. What provoked Vasari's admiration and envy in this case was not Martini's painting, which Vasari noted was "rapidly perishing," but the fact that Petrarch had mentioned Martini in two sonnets. Last week history reversed Vasari's order of precedence. Few but antiquarians care whether Martini was mentioned by Petrarch or not, but the discovery of a hitherto unknown Martini Madonna and Child (see cut] is the talk of Italian art circles, where it is being hailed as...

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