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Santa Maria Maggiore Altarpiece

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The Florentine painters Masaccio and Masolino often collaborated on large-scale projects. These panels come from a double-sided altarpiece made for the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. It was placed in the canon’s choir and probably commissioned by the wealthy and notable Colonna family.

One side would have been visible to only the canons – the clergymen connected specifically to the church and bound by its rules – who worshipped in this chapel and the other side to all who prayed in the church. The chapel was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist which explains his presence with Saint Jerome on the panel by Masaccio, Saints Jerome and John the Baptist. The painting by Masolino, A Pope (Saint Gregory?) and Saint Matthias, was once on the other side of the same panel. Masolino completed the altarpiece after Masaccio died in Rome of the plague in 1428/9.

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