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The Virgin and Child with Saints
Pisanello
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This puzzling painting seems to be a picture in two halves. At the top the Virgin and Child embrace in a gilded sunburst. Below, Saint Anthony Abbot rings his bell and glowers at an elegant knight. This is Saint George, dressed in fifteenth-century armour, and a stylish straw hat – a contemporary French fashion. His emblem of the dragon curls around his legs, snarling at Anthony’s boar.

This is the only surviving signed work by Pisanello and one of only four panel paintings that are certainly by him. We don't know who this painting was made for, though Pisanello was a court painter and worked for various Italian noble families. It was always a single panel and its small scale suggests it was intended for private enjoyment.

Key facts
Artist Pisanello
Artist dates about 1394? - 1455
Full title The Virgin and Child with Saints Anthony Abbot and George
Date made about 1435-41
Medium and support Egg tempera on poplar
Dimensions 46.5 x 29 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Presented by Lady Eastlake in memory of Sir Charles Eastlake, 1867
Inventory number NG776
Location in Gallery Room 54
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