Altarpiece of the Virgin and Child flanked by St Andrew and St James

Master of the Madeleine
Florence, c. 1275-1280
Tempera on wood, gold ground
Bequest of Émile Peyre, 1905
Inv. PE 76

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The “dossal” type of altar panel, rising vertically from the back of the altar, was common in Italy at this time. On this panel, the Virgin Mary is enthroned in the center between Saints Andrew and James; the three figures fill the height of the panel. The scenes on either side are arranged on three levels: the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Adoration of the Magi, the Presentation in the Temple, the Flight into Egypt and the Dormition of the Virgin. The anonymous artist is generally known as the Master of the Madeleine, after the Altarpiece of the Life of St Mary Magdalene, now in the Accademia in Florence.