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Saint Mark and Saint Augustine
Zanobi Machiavelli
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Saint Mark, one of the four authors of the Gospels, stands on a tilted floor next to Saint Augustine, a fourth-century theologian. A winged lion, the traditional symbol of Saint Mark, can be seen resting at the feet of the saint. Saint Augustine’s richly decorated mitre, crosier and gloves identify him as Bishop of Hippo, his home town (the modern city of Annaba, in Algeria).

This panel is a fragment of the same altarpiece to which another work in the National Gallery’s collection, Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist, belongs. A lost or unidentified central panel is likely to have shown the Virgin Mary and Christ Child and, if that is the case, the tilted floor probably continued seamlessly across all the panels. But it’s also possible that a sculpture formed the centre of this ensemble. Either way, the orientation of the saints here suggests that they were originally on the right-hand side.

Key facts
Artist Zanobi Machiavelli
Artist dates about 1418 - 1479
Full title Saint Mark and Saint Augustine
Series Panels from an Altarpiece
Date made probably about 1470
Medium and support Tempera on wood
Dimensions 129.5 x 52.1 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1857
Inventory number NG588
Location in Gallery Not on display
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Panels from an Altarpiece

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These two panels, one showing Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist and the other Saints Mark and Augustine, are fragments of an altarpiece. A lost or unidentified central panel is likely to have shown the Virgin Mary and Christ Child; if that is the case, the tilted floor on which the saints stand would have continued seamlessly across all the panels. But it’s also possible that a sculpture formed the centre of this ensemble.

Nothing is known about the original layout and context of these panels, but the depiction of Saint Augustine on the right-hand panel suggests that they were made for a foundation associated with the Augustinian Order.

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