Description This is the story of the Virgin Mary's own immaculate conception, that she herself was born miraculously, not as a result of normal human intercourse, and therefore prepared since birth as the pure vessel for Christ. In consequence Mary may be depicted separately as "the Immaculate One, or Immaculata." Her elderly parents Joachim and Anne are shown embracing beneath the Golden Gate of Jerusalem. As told in the Book of James (an early gospel that was ultimately not included in the Bible) and later expanded upon in the influential medieval book with the lives of saints known as the Golden Legend, the couple rushed to meet each other after an angel appeared to Anne and told her that, despite her old age, she had miraculously conceived a daughter “who shall be spoken of in the whole world.” Rarely depicted in 15th-century Italian art, the artist has clarified the subject by adding inscriptions identifying the figures, the city of Jerusalem, and the Golden Gate. The secondary figures of Saints Margaret and Anthony Abbot (at the left), neither of whom are present in the biblical account, were likely added at the request of the patron. Painted in the later 1400s by an unknown artist working in or around Florence, the panel may have originally been part of a small multi-paneled altarpiece that included other scenes from the life of the Virgin.
The Meeting of Joachim and Anne at the Golden Gate, in the Presence of SS. Margaret and Anthony Abbot
|12/31/1969||Examination||examined for condition|
|6/10/1965||Treatment||examined for condition; inpainted; other; varnish removed or reduced|
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [1897 catalogue: no. 49, as Filippo Lippi]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Transcription] On the walls of Jerusalem: .PORTA.AVRA DIIERVSALEN; [Translation] On the walls of Jerusalem: Golden Gate of Jerusalem; [Transcription] On gate: IERVSALEN; [Transcription] On lower part of walls: ST[A] MARG[HE]RITA; [Transcription] On lower edge of St. Anthony Abbot's habit: S A[N]TONIVS; [Transcription] On St. Joachim's right sleeve: ST IOVACHINVS; [Transcription] On St. Anne's left sleeve: S[ANCT]A ANNA.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902
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