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Medici (Overdoor?) Panels

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These panels were made for a member of Florence’s ruling family, the Medici, and once hung in the Palazzo Medici. One panel shows the Annunciation (when the Virgin Mary was told she would conceive a son, Jesus Christ); the other, a gathering of patron saints of the Medici family. The panels are similar in size, scale and viewpoint, suggesting that they were designed as a pair, and were intended to hang where they could be viewed together.

They may have been placed over the doors of Piero de' Medici’s study – its ceiling was decorated with ceramic roundels representing the signs of the zodiac (and, therefore, the months). The Annunciation suits such a setting: its feast was celebrated on 25 March, the first day of the Florentine calendar year. Depicting Medici patron saints may have been a way to demonstrate the protection they offered to the city throughout the year.

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