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Two Panels from an Altarpiece


Two small saints – Saint Paul, with a sword and book, and a bishop saint, perhaps Saint Ambrose, in richly coloured and gilded robes – stand against dark backgrounds. The angle at which they are shown makes it clear they were intended to be seen from below: both probably came from the top row of a polyptych (a multi-panelled altarpiece).

We do not know who the artist was, but the style of the panels links them to the work of two important north Italian painters of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries: Vincenzo Foppa and Ambrogio Bergognone. They must have been made by a less talented follower of these Lombard painters, probably in around 1480 to 1500.