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Niccolò di Buonaccorso, The Marriage of the Virgin

Key facts
Full title The Marriage of the Virgin
Artist Niccolò di Buonaccorso
Artist dates documented 1372; died 1388
Date made about 1380
Medium and support Egg tempera on poplar
Dimensions 50.9 × 33 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1881
Inventory number NG1109
Location Gallery F
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Marriage of the Virgin
Niccolò di Buonaccorso

This is a rare example of a work by Niccolò di Buonaccorso – one of the most gifted Sienese artists of the fourteenth century. The panel belongs to a series of three: the others show the Virgin as a child in The Presentation of the Virgin (Uffizi, Florence) and The Coronation of the Virgin by Christ after her death (Lehman Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).

According to legend the Virgin had many suitors who took part in a competition for her hand in marriage. They all took rods to the Temple and the one whose rod flowered was successful. Joseph’s rod has sprouted leaves and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove has landed upon it.

The artist has included his hometown in his signature: NICHOLAVS. BONACHVRSI. DE SENIS. ME P[I]NXIT (‘Niccolò di Buonaccorso of Siena painted me’). This suggests the picture may have been made for a patron who was not from Siena. The marriage of the Virgin was more popular in Florence than Siena.

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