Scenes from the Lives of the Virgin and other Saints

The painting is divided into four narrative scenes, each of which depicts episodes from the lives of holy figures key to late Medieval Christian devotion: the apotheosis or raising into heaven of Saint Augustine; the Coronation of the Virgin; Saint Catherine of Alexandria disputing with the philosophers; Saint Francis receiving the stigmata, and Saint John the Baptist in the wilderness. The combination of these iconographic episodes is unusual, and probably reflects the patron’s specific requests.

This picture is exquisitely and delicately painted. It reflects the monumental and expressive compositions of the innovative Florentine painter Giotto, as well as a reverence for Byzantine artistic forms. Fine details include the gilding adorning the robes of the Virgin Mary and other sacred figures, and the foreshortened angels, seen from behind, who watch Christ crown his mother Mary.

‘Scenes from the Lives of the Virgin and other Saints’ was probably commissioned by the community of Augustinian hermits in Rimini, for private contemplation and worship. A closely related painting that was probably made for the same patron, ‘Scenes from the Life of Christ’, is in Rome (Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Palazzo Barberini).

Key facts

Artist dates
documented 1292 - 1309 or 1314/15
Full title
Scenes from the Lives of the Virgin, Saint John the Evangelist, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Saint Francis and Saint John the Baptist
Date made
probably about 1300-1305
Medium and support
Egg tempera on wood
54.4 × 36.5 cm
Acquisition credit
Acquired with a generous donation from Ronald S. Lauder, 2015
Inventory number
Location in Gallery