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Giovanni da Milano, Christ and the Virgin Enthroned with Six Saints

Key facts
Full title Christ and the Virgin Enthroned with Six Saints
Artist Giovanni da Milano
Artist dates documented 1346 - 1369
Date made about 1348/50-5
Medium and support Egg tempera on wood
Dimensions 45.8 × 34.4 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1881
Inventory number NG1108
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Christ and the Virgin Enthroned with Six Saints
Giovanni da Milano

Giovanni da Milano spent much of his career in Tuscany, and may have painted this small panel in Siena. Christ and the Virgin are shown as King and Queen of Heaven, carrying orbs and sceptres. Images of them seated on a double throne are rare, though there are a few examples by Sienese painters that Giovanni may have seen. Saints are gathered beneath the throne, gazing up at the holy figures.

The picture’s owner probably chose which saints to include. Saint Lawrence holds a grill, a reminder of his torture by fire. Behind him stand Saint John the Baptist and a saint whose mitre identifies him as a bishop. Saint Clare, wearing the black hood and brown cloak of the religious order for women that she founded (the Poor Clares), appears between Saint Catherine and Saint Lucy.

Other panels showing Christ and Mary enthroned together that also include Saint Clare were made for convents dedicated to her, so it’s possible that this panel was ordered by a Sienese convent of Clares.

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