Description The intact condition and unique format of this altarpiece make it a truly remarkable painting. The central panel depicts a stunning Madonna and Child, flanked on the left by half-length figures of St. Peter above St. John the Baptist and, on the right, by St. Paul above St. Francis of Assisi. The Virgin's robe is carved and decorated with gold leaf that shimmered in the candlelight, a surface treatment common in Byzantine paintings. Because of the crescent moon at her feet, the rays emanating from her body, and the gold curling through her cloak, the Virgin seems to hover behind the frame. The molding of the inner frame crops the composition like an open window, offering a glimpse into the sacred, timeless realm beyond. On the back of the left wing are two preparatory drawings by the artist.
- God's Minstrel: St. Francis of Assisi. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1982.
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome, prior to 1897 [mode of acquisition unknown] [1897 catalogue: no. 30 as Tuscan School, early 15th century]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Transcription] Inscribed on Virgin's halo: AVE MAR[IA] GRATIA PLENA; [Translation] Inscribed on Virgin's halo: Hail Mary full of grace; [Transcription] Inscribed on the bottom left panel, in two roundels: P, E; [Transcription] Inscribed on bottom of right panel, in two roundels: T, R; Inscribed on scroll held by John the Baptist: ECCE/AGNVS/DEI QVI/TOLLIS/PEC[CATA MVNDI]; [Translation] Inscribed on scroll held by John the Baptist: Here is the Lamb of God who eliminates the sins of the world.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902
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