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Marco Marziale, The Virgin and Child with Saints

Key facts
Full title The Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Gall, John the Baptist, Roch (?) and Bartholomew
Artist Marco Marziale
Artist dates active about 1492 - about 1507
Date made 1507
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 221.5 × 143 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1869
Inventory number NG804
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Virgin and Child with Saints
Marco Marziale

The Virgin and Child are seated on a throne in front of a cloth of honour in this large and highly decorative altarpiece. They are surrounded by saints, in a composition known as a sacra conversazione (‘holy conversation’). On the Virgin’s right are Saints John the Baptist and Gall, the patron of the church for which this was painted. On her left are Saints James, with pilgrim badges in his hat, and Bartholomew, holding the knife which which he was flayed.

Inscribed on the vaulting of the apse behind them are the abbreviated Latin words, ‘Rejoice, Queen of Heaven, Hallelujah’, the opening lines of a famous hymn to the Virgin. The church’s decoration reflects the tradition of mosaics in medieval Venetian churches; the artist, Marco Marziale, was Venetian. His name and the date, 1507, are painted on the cartellino (a piece of parchment or paper depicted within the painting) on the marble step of the throne.

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