The Marriage of the Virgin

The Virgin's marriage to Saint Joseph is not described in the Gospels but appears in the New Testament Apocrypha and the 13th-century book, the 'Golden Legend'. These sources tell how Joseph was chosen to marry the Virgin because of a miraculous sign - the flowering of his rod. Here he holds his rod surmounted by a dove (the symbol of the Holy Ghost) while placing a ring on the Virgin's hand. The Virgin's mother, Saint Anne, stands on the right and on the left two disappointed suitors break their rods.

This painting on panel, and one in the Vatican Museum of the 'Birth of the Virgin', are almost certainly from the same predella, (the lower section of an altarpiece). They may belong to an altarpiece of the 'Virgin and Child with Saints Andrew and Onophrius' in the Pinacoteca, Siena.

Key facts

Artist dates
documented 1389; died 1428?
Full title
The Marriage of the Virgin
Date made
about 1423
Medium and support
Egg tempera on wood
41 x 33.2 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1890
Inventory number
Location in Gallery