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(Italian, bef 1242)
Tempera and gold on wood
Unframed: 42.5 x 12.5 cm (16 3/4 x 4 15/16 in.)
Gift of the John Huntington Art and Polytechnic Trust 1966.237.b
This small altarpiece, intended for a domestic interior or private chapel, consists of three panels, allowing it to be folded and easily transported. Surrounding the Virgin and Child in the center are various saints. On the left is Saint Andrew crucified, with St. Francis and St. Paul below; on the right, Christ with the instruments of the Passion, and St. Stephen and St. Lawrence below. The long expressive lines that define the clothing and hands of the figures are typical of Byzantine painting, which spread from Constantinople to Italy in the Middle Ages. Berlinghiero is one of the earliest Italian painters known by name. He lived in Lucca, the most important artistic center in Tuscany before the rise of Siena and Florence. Berlinghiero headed a large, influential workshop that included his sons.
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