Inspired by a palm-sized wooden icon of the Madonna and Child bought on the street in Florence, Vincent Amicosante has begun a new series of small (22’X18″) oil-on-board paintings that mimic the form of the renaissance house-shaped devotional image. Maintaining his ongoing interest in metaphor and symbolism, his new series plays with the traditional associations of the picture frame as a window to a highly rendered, illusionistic world. From the design of the milled wood, to the gold leaf applied to the ornate carvings, he has applied a high level of craftsmanship to the project: the resulting paintings are precious objects, organically conceived entities. Beginning with variations on the mother and child theme in the animal world (outside of the standard religious iconography), Amicosante plans to push the metaphor in many different directions over the course of the series. 1 September 2000 ¬©Maura Coughlin