Saint Margaret

Saint Margaret

c. 1520-1530

Antonello Gaggini

(Italian, 1478-1536)


Overall: 139.7 x 54.6 x 18.2 cm (55 x 21 1/2 x 7 3/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1942.564



Gaggini was a member of a large family of sculptors whose Palermo workshop supplied monumental religious sculptures for the cathedrals of Palermo and Messina in Sicily and Montelione in Calabria. After 1507 Antonello himself worked for 15 years to produce marble sculptures for Palermo Cathedral. This figure of the legendary virgin martyr, Saint Margaret, was probably commissioned for one of these ecclesiastical foundations, possibly the chancel of Palermo Cathedral. The saint is shown reading from a book of hours (a sign of her piety) and trampling upon a dragon, the symbol of Satan. The dragon became the attribute by which she is recognized in sacred art.

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