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Giovanni da Rimini, Scenes from the Lives of the Virgin and other Saints

Key facts
Full title Scenes from the Lives of the Virgin, Saint John the Evangelist, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Saint Francis and Saint John the Baptist
Artist Giovanni da Rimini
Artist dates documented 1292 - 1309 or 1314/15
Date made probably about 1300-1305
Medium and support Egg tempera on wood
Dimensions 54.4 × 36.5 cm
Acquisition credit Acquired with a generous donation from Ronald S. Lauder, 2015
Inventory number NG6656
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Scenes from the Lives of the Virgin and other Saints
Giovanni da Rimini

The unusual choice of scenes on this small panel and their uneven arrangement makes this work unique in early Italian painting. The upper scene on the left shows the ascension of Saint John the Evangelist to heaven – an image practically unknown in Western art.

Mourners bow in respect towards Saint John’s tomb; he appears far above them in heaven, surrounded by Christ, the Virgin Mary, angels and other saints. This scene is complemented by the coronation of the Virgin – angels below crane their necks to watch. The lower scenes show Saint Catherine of Alexandria preaching to the Emperor Maxentius on the left, and Saints Francis and John the Baptist on the right.

The panel was probably made as a pair to another picture of identical dimensions in Rome (Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Palazzo Barberini) showing six scenes of episodes from the life of Christ. It was probably made for the church of Sant Agostino in Rimini.

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