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The Virgin Mary Presents the Baby Jesus to Santa Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi

Violante Siriès Cerroti. It always starts with one painting. Siriès Cerroti’s masterwork, resides in the sacristy of the church of Santa Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi, an exquisite example of Baroque architecture in the center of Florence. It honors the miraculous visions of a local Florentine saint and is a magnificent copy of Luca Giordano’s earlier work in the church’s main chapel. Painted in 1767, it represents one of Florence’s very few examples of a large-scale devotional canvas by a woman. Since this project began, AWA has encountered several paintings by Violante in need of restoration. The most important is at the Benedictine Monastery of San Lorenzo al Monte, just outside of Florence. It’s another unique image of the Virgin—a Reading Madonna. “The hope is that these might benefit from the interest the Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi project has generated,” says Dr. Jane Fortune, AWA’s founder and Chairman. “The painting has now been placed in its original restored frame, and has finally returned to its fully restored niche. By salvaging Violante’s art we are hoping to restore her story.”

'In the nick of time'

Siries’ masterwork was a ‘victim’ of the 1966 flood and no one knew it until nearly 50 years later.

Recovering Violante’s Legacy

AWA researcher Poiret Masse searches for (and finds) works by Violante in Tuscany and Italy.

Why seek out ‘copies’?

Imagine being an artist in a world without photography. That was Violante’s world as a copyist.

Insight into the Artist’s Technique

An opportunity for in-depth study of artists’ materials and painting methods.