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Key facts
Full title The Mass of Saint Gregory
Artist Workshop of Nicolás Francés
Artist dates died 1468
Date made mid-15th century
Medium and support Oil on panel, gold ground, with an integral frame
Dimensions 31.1 × 20.9 cm
Acquisition credit On loan from a private collection
Inventory number L1286
Location Room 64
Art route(s) A
Image copyright On loan from a private collection
Collection Main Collection
The Mass of Saint Gregory
Workshop of Nicolás Francés

Pope Gregory I (or St Gregory the Great) kneels before an altar and stares intently at the figure of the resurrected Christ emerging from a tomb. The scene commemorates a miracle that is meant to have taken place in the sixth century, during a mass celebrated by Gregory in the Church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Rome. When, at the moment of consecration, one of the celebrants doubted the transformation of the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood (known as transubstantiation), Christ appeared on the altar as the Man of Sorrows, surrounded by the Instruments of the Passion.

The association of this panel with the workshop of Nicolás Francés is based on its similarity to a painting of the same subject in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The small format of both works and this painting’s integral frame suggest they were intended for private devotion.

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