The National Gallery houses one of the most important collections of early Italian paintings outside Italy, including works by Cimabue, Duccio, Ugolino di Nerio, Giotto, Bernardo Daddi and the Cioni brothers. Since these were last catalogued in 1988 there have been four exceptional new acquisitions: the thirteenth-century diptych now attributed to the Master of the Borgo Crucifix, The Virgin and Child by Cimabue, The Virgin and Child by the Clarisse Master and The Coronation of the Virgin by Bernardo Daddi.
In 1989, following the systematic programme of examination jointly carried out by the National Gallery’s curators, conservators and scientists, the National Gallery published Art in the Making: Italian Painting before 1400 which is acknowledged as a key source for information about the methods and materials of painting of this period. For the present volume, all but two works have been reexamined in the conservation studios, and this has revealed, through infrared reflectography, the significance of underdrawings in early Italian paintings, together with other new information regarding technique.
In reviewing and in some cases reattributing the works catalogued here, the author takes account of the considerable body of new research published over the last twenty years, including that on paintings and fragments of paintings in other collections which are related to panels in the National Gallery.