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Jacopo di Cione and workshop, Adoring Saints: Right Main Tier Panel

Key facts
Full title Adoring Saints: Right Main Tier Panel
Artist Jacopo di Cione and workshop
Artist dates documented 1365; died 1398 -1400
Series The San Pier Maggiore Altarpiece
Date made 1370-1
Medium and support Egg tempera on wood
Dimensions 169 × 113 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1857
Inventory number NG569.3
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Adoring Saints: Right Main Tier Panel
Jacopo di Cione and workshop

The saints arranged neatly in rows look towards the central panel – which shows Christ crowning the Virgin Mary – of the four-tiered altarpiece that this picture comes from. A panel on the other side of the central image mirrors the scene here. Together, these three panels formed the main level of the altarpiece.

The altarpiece was commissioned for the Florentine convent church of San Pier Maggiore, where it formed the backdrop to a ceremony related to the ordination of every new bishop of Florence. The bishop would offer a ring to the convent abbess to signifiy his spritual marriage to the church. This may explain the prominence of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, shown on the right of the front row in a pink dress, who was symbolically married to Christ.

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The San Pier Maggiore Altarpiece


These images come from a large, four-tiered altarpiece created for the high altar of the choir of the church of San Pier Maggiore in Florence. It was made up of a number of separate panels, most of which are now in the National Gallery’s collection.

Although only the facade of the church remains today, it was one of the oldest and most important religious institutions in Florence when this altarpiece was made. It was founded by the first bishop of Florence, Saint Zenobius, in the fifth century. The picture formed the backdrop to one of the ceremonies relating to the ordination of each bishop of Florence until the late sixteenth century.

The altarpiece was most probably commissioned by the wealthy Florentine Albizzi family and many of its saints relate to their family or their trade as wool merchants. The central images showed the coronation of the Virgin by Christ surrounded by adoring saints – a highly popular image in Florence.