General admission for children 17 years and under is always free

Simone Martini - Virgin and Child with Saints, about 1320

Simone Martini (Siena, about 1284 - 1344, Avignon)

Virgin and Child with Saints, about 1320

Gold and tempera on panel , 131 x 274.3 cm (51 9/16 x 108 in.)


Simone Martini achieved unprecedented fame in his own lifetime. This is his largest surviving work outside of Italy and one of the earliest altarpieces in the museum. Delicate and otherworldly, with its finely tooled gold background, this polyptych (a multi-paneled altarpiece) comes from the Church of the Servites in Orvieto, Italy. Above the Virgin and Child is a victorious and blessing Christ, displaying his wounds; the saints to either side carry identifying attributes. On the pinnacles above the saints, angels hold symbols of the Crucifixion and summon the Last Judgment with their trumpets. Once again, this acquisition showed that Gardner was ahead of the curve; it was one of two paintings by Simone Martini in her museum, the debut works by this artist to enter a United States collection.