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Michele Giambono, A Saint with a Book

Key facts
Full title A Saint with a Book
Artist Michele Giambono
Artist dates active 1420 - 1462
Date made mid-15th century
Medium and support Egg on poplar
Dimensions 38.5 × 28.5 cm
Acquisition credit Mond Bequest, 1924
Inventory number NG3917
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Saint with a Book
Michele Giambono

A bearded saint in rich red and blue robes holds an open book. His halo, now rather worn, was burnished gold incised with decorative patterns; the edges and lining of his cloak, his sleeves and his neckline glimmer with touches of gold. His book with its fluttering pages has a dark green binding and gilded fore-edges. We are not sure who he is, though he might well be Saint Mark, who was traditionally shown with a dark beard and curly dark hair.

This panel seems to have come from the upper tier of a polyptych (a multi-panelled altarpiece) painted by the Venetian artist Michele Giambono. A number of other figures, both full and half length, against blue backgrounds and apparently from the same altarpiece, survive in collections around the world. The wavy line of darker blue which runs around the figure shows where the gilded frame would have been.

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