Saint AnneAccording to tradition and some apocryphal writings, Saint Anne (or Anna) was the wife of Saint Joachim and mother of the Virgin Mary. She is not mentioned in the Gospels, but according to a popular legend the Virgin was miraculously conceived when Joachim, returning from guarding his flocks, embraced Anne at the Golden Gate of the Temple.
Saint Anne was one of the patron saints of Florence, and therefore appears frequently in Florentine art.
In Italian altarpieces of the 14th and 15th centuries she was often represented with the Virgin and Child seated on her lap.
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN