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Lorenzo d'Alessandro da Sanseverino, The Marriage of Saint Catherine of Siena

Key facts
Full title The Marriage of Saint Catherine of Siena
Artist Lorenzo d'Alessandro da Sanseverino
Artist dates active 1468; died 1503
Date made probably about 1481-1500
Medium and support Tempera and oil on wood
Dimensions 144.8 × 145.4 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Inscribed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1854
Inventory number NG249
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Marriage of Saint Catherine of Siena
Lorenzo d'Alessandro da Sanseverino

This is the main panel of an altarpiece painted for a Dominican church in Fabriano, in the Marche region of Italy. The Virgin Mary sits on a marble throne in a walled garden. She looks lovingly at the Christ Child balanced on her left knee, and her long fingers curl protectively around him. They are surrounded by saints, who are named on their halos, and by an unnamed Dominican beatus (‘blessed’, one step below sainthood), probably the Blessed Costanzo da Fabriano (who died in 1481/2).

The artist has signed his name on the marble step beneath the Virgin’s feet. Lorenzo worked entirely in the Marche, and the highly decorative quality of this picture, with its crisp painting style, detailed depiction of faces and rich garments, and the extensively decorated gilding hark back to the Marchian artists of the previous generation, in particular Carlo Crivelli. Even details such as the apple and cucumber on the marble step are taken from Crivelli.

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