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The Resurrection: Upper Tier Panel
Jacopo di Cione and workshop
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The Roman soldiers who have been posted to guard Christ’s tomb from grave robbers have fallen asleep. Christ has risen from his grave and is shown above his tomb holding a white flag with a red cross, a symbol of the Resurrection. The lid of the tomb is still closed, emphasising the miracle of the Resurrection – something that the soldiers couldn't have been prepared for even if they had been awake. Christ wears a white and gold robe, which would have shimmered in the candlelight against the gold background, reflecting the heavenly nature of the event.

This panel comes from a four-tiered altarpiece made for the church of San Pier Maggiore in Florence. It belongs to a sequence of narrative scenes showing events from Christ’s birth, Resurrection and Ascension. They were situated above the panels of the main tier, which show the coronation of the Virgin surrounded by adoring saints.

Key facts
Artist Jacopo di Cione and workshop
Artist dates documented 1365; died 1398 -1400
Full title The Resurrection: Upper Tier Panel
Group The San Pier Maggiore Altarpiece
Date made 1370-1
Medium and support Egg tempera on wood
Dimensions 95.3 x 49 cm
Inscription summary Inscribed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1857
Inventory number NG575
Location in Gallery Room 60
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The San Pier Maggiore Altarpiece

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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.

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