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Master of the Story of Griselda, The Story of Griselda, Part III: Reunion

Key facts
Full title The Story of Griselda, Part III: Reunion
Artist Master of the Story of Griselda
Artist dates active about 1490 - 1500
Series Spalliera Panels with the Story of Patient Griselda
Date made about 1494
Medium and support Oil with some tempera on wood
Dimensions 61.6 × 154.3 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1874
Inventory number NG914
Location Gallery B
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Story of Griselda, Part III: Reunion
Master of the Story of Griselda

The Decameron, a fourteenth-century collection of stories, tells the tale of Griselda, a peasant woman who was put through a series of tests by her rich husband, the Marquis Gualtieri di Saluzzo. This is the final panel of a series of three; it shows the couple’s reunion after Griselda’s ordeal.

After pretending to annul their marriage, the Marquis tells Griselda he is marrying again and asks her to arrange the wedding feast; we see her at the far left of the painting, sweeping the floor. At the far right, Griselda greets the woman posing as the Marquis' new wife. Eventually, the Marquis reveals his tests and is reunited with Griselda; her loyalty has renewed his love for her, and the celebration becomes their own.

The three panels were commissioned for a room in the Spanocchi family palace in Siena, and were probably made to celebrate two family marriages which took place in January 1494.

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Spalliera Panels with the Story of Patient Griselda


These three long panels illustrate the story of a young peasant woman, Griselda, as told in The Decameron, a fourteenth-century collection of novellas by the Italian author Boccaccio. They were likely destined to decorate the chambers (or camera) of a newly-wed couple, since the tale celebrates a woman’s loyalty and marital fidelity, against the odds.

It is very likely that these panels were commissioned at the time of the marriages of two brothers of the noble Sienese Spannocchi family, which took place in January 1494. Their father, Ambrogio, was the papal banker to Pius II Piccolomini, also from Siena.

Our panels have been connected with two others of a similar shape and size at Longleat House, Wiltshire, which depict ancient leaders Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar. They are attributed to the workshop of the Florentine painters Domenico and Davide Ghirlandaio. The picture of Alexander the Great included the Spanocchi coat of arms.