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Pentecost
Barnaba da Modena
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Christ’s disciples were gathered together 50 days after his death when, according to the Bible, a strong wind began to blow. Flames like ‘tongues of fire’ appeared on their heads and they were filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2: 1–4). This event, called Pentecost, was when the disciples were given the divine authority to preach about Christ and his message.

Here, the Holy Ghost is represented as a tiny white dove above the Virgin Mary’s head and we can see the double-tongued flames on the disciples' heads. It is very likely that it was one of a series of scenes that made up a larger work, probably a triptych (a picture made up of three panels). In the church of San Giovanni Battista in Alba there is a picture of the Virgin and Child signed by Barnaba di Modena and dated 1377. It may have been the central panel of this triptych.

Key facts
Artist Barnaba da Modena
Artist dates active 1361 - 1386
Full title Pentecost
Date made 1377 (?)
Medium and support Egg tempera on wood
Dimensions 54.4 x 50.1 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1895
Inventory number NG1437
Location in Gallery Not on display
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