How often have you visited a church anywhere in Italy and been surprised to see, amid all the swooping baroque and perhaps a few remnants of the Renaissance, a somewhat primitive painting taking pride of place above the altar. It’s usually a Madonna, and one senses that she has been loved and venerated for many hundreds of years.
Such a Madonna can be seen in S Maria del Popolo in the Piazza del Popolo in Rome, where you can also see two Caravaggios. What a contrast!
There is also a similar piece, in the church of the Incancellata in Corinaldo, a Madonna del Latte which looks 15th-century to me, although it was donated to the Confraternity of the Gonfalone of Corinaldo in 1586. I will include a photo of it next time. According to the parochial website, the church was built around the little shrine containing the painting, which attracted great numbers of pilgrims.
And finally, and very timely from my point of view, there is at the moment a free exhibition of pre-1500 Italian altarpieces in the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery. It is beautifully and reverently done and includes this: