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.) Side panels


Object details

Accession number



Probably painted for the Servites of the church of Santa Maria dei Servi, Orvieto.
Purchased by Leandro Mazzocchi from Santa Maria dei Servi, Orvieto in 1851.
By descent in the Mazzocchi family and on loan to the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Orvieto from about 1860-1899.
Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from the Mazzocchi family, Orvieto, April 1899 for £500 through Bernard Berenson (1865–1959), American art historian.

Dimension Notes

Center panel: 99 x 60.7 cm (39 x 23 7/8 in.) without pinnacle Side panels: about 86.3 x 42.5 cm (34 x 16 3/4 in.) each Pinnacles: about 32 x 36 cm (12 5/8 x 14 3/16 in.) each


F. Mason Perkins. "Pitture senesi negli Stati Uniti." Rassegna d'arte senese, I (1905), p. 75. (as Lippo Memmi, working under the eye of Simone Martini or in cooperation with him)
J. A. Crowe and G. B. Cavalcaselle. A History of Painting in Italy: Umbria Florence and Siena from the second to the sixteenth century, vol. 3 (London, 1908), p. 40. (as Simone Martini)
Raimond van Marle. Simone Martini et les peintres de son école (Strasbourg, 1920), pp. 27-29, pl. VII. (as Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi)
Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting, vol. 2 (The Hague, 1924), pp. 196-99, 269, fig. 175. (Saints Paul and John by Simone Martini and others by Lippo Memmi)
Philip Hendy. Catalogue of Exhibited Paintings and Drawings (Boston, 1931), pp. 337-41, ill. (as Simone Martini with the assistance of Lippo Memmi)
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), pp. 92-93, pl. 13. (as Simone Martini)
Stuart Preston. "The Madonna and Child, with Four Saints" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 10, ill. (as Simone Martini)
Morris Carter. "Mrs. Gardner & The Treasures of Fenway Court" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 58. (as Simone Martini)
John Pope-Hennessy. "Three Panels by Simone Martini." Burlington Magazine 91 (1949), p. 195. (the lateral panels by the studio of Simone Martini)
Von Klara Steinweg. "Beiträge zu Simone Martini und Seiner Werkstatt." Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 7 (July 1956), p. 166.
John White. Art and Architecture in Italy 1250-1400 (New Haven: 1966), p. 357. (as Simone Martini)
George L. Stout. Treasures from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1969), pp. 101-103, ill. (as Simone Martini)
Maria Cristina Gozzoli (ed.). L'opera completa di Simone Martini (Milan, 1970), p. 89, no. 11, pl. XVIIA. (Virgin by Simone Martini, other panels by Simone Martini and workshop, dated as 1321-25)
Burton B. Fredericksen and Frederico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1972), p. 121. (as Simone Martini)
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), p. 238, pl. III. (as Simone Martini with the assistance of Lippo Memmi, and from the church or monastery of S. Francesco in Orvieto)
Gabrielle Kopelman. "Simone Martini's Altarpiece at Fenway Court: A Note on Conservation." Fenway Court (1978), p. 1, ill.
Sherwood A. Fehm, Jr. "Simone and the Franciscan Zelanti." Fenway Court (1978), pp. 2-6, figs. 1-5. (as Simone Martini for the Franciscan order)
Joel Brink. "The Original Carpentry of Simone's Altarpiece." Fenway Court (1978), pp. 7-13, figs. 6, 10. (as Simone Martini)
Cristina De Benedictis. La pittura Senese: 1330-1370 (Florence, 1979), pp. 16-17, 23-24. (as Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi)
Serena Padovani. "Restauri: Una tavola di Castiglione d'Orcia restauri di recente." Prospettiva 17 (April 1979), pp. 82-88, figs. 5, 10. (as Simone Martini)
Joel Brink. "Simone Martini's 'St Catherine of Alexandria': An Orvietan Altarpiece and the Mystical Theology of St Bonaventure." Bulletin (1979-1980), pp. 39-43, 52-53, fig. 3. (as Simone Martini and workshop)
Rollin van N. Hadley. Museums Discovered: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1981), pp. 20-21. (as Simone Martini, dated about 1320, possibly for the monastery church of S. Francesco, Orvieto)
Burton Fredericksen. "Documents for the Servite origin of Simone Martini's Orvieto polyptych." The Burlington Magazine 128 (August 1986), pp. 592-97, fig. 35. (as from the Chiesa dei Servi di Maria, Orvieto)
Rollin van N. Hadley (ed.). The Letters of Bernard Berenson and Isabella Stewart Gardner 1887-1924 (Boston, 1987), 171-75, 207-10, 216, 548, ill. (as Simone Martini)
Andrew Martindale. Simone Martini (New York, 1988), pp. 28-29, 56, 59, 186-87, no. 11, pl. 64, 65, 66. (as Simone Martini and possibly workshop)
Giovanni Previtali. "Introduction to Issues of Simone Martini's Workshop: the Boston Polyptych and its Derivations." Fenway Court (1988), pp. 32-43, figs. 1-2, 8, 13-14. (as Simone Martini)
Giovanni Previtali. "Introduzione ai Problemi: Della Bottega di Simone Martini." Simone Martini atti del convegno (Florence, 1988), pp. 151-160, figs. 12, 23, 24 (as Simone Martini)
Irene Hueck. "Simone Attorno al 1320." in Luciano Bellosi (ed.). Simone Martini atti del convegno (Florence, 1988), pp. 53-54. (dated 1321-22)
Cecilia Jannella. Simone Martini (Florence, 1989), pp. 52-53, figs. 52-53 (as Simone Martini, except possibly St. Paul)
Gianna Antonia Mina. Studies in Marian Imagery: Servite Spirituality and the Art of Siena (c.1261 - c.1328). PhD diss. (Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London: 1993), pp. 235-86, figs. 159, 164-78, 181, 184-85, 194-95, 214, 225, 232 (as Simone Martini and workshop, but not Lippo Memmi, dated as about 1323-24)
Joanna Cannon. "The Creation, Meaning, and Audience of the Early Sienese Polyptych: Evidence from the Friars" in Eve Borsook and Fiorella Superbi Gioffredi (eds.). Italian Altarpieces 1250-1550 (Oxford, 1994), p. 52, pl. 41. (as workshop of Simone Martini)
Alan Chong et al. (eds.) Eye of the Beholder: Masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 2003), pp. 40-41. (as Simone Martini, dated about 1320)
Pierluigi Leone de Castris. Simone Martini (Milan, 2003), pp. 189, 191-94, ill. (as Simone Martini and workshop)
Roberto Maria Fagioli. Simone Martini, Politico Orvietano (Grotti di Castro, 2007), pp. 55-84, ill.
Ada Labriola. Simone Martini e la pittura gotica a Siena (Florence, 2008), pp. 130-35, ill. (as Simone Martini and workshop, dated about 1320-22)
Carl Brandon Strehlke and Machtelt Brüggen Israëls. The Bernard and Mary Berenson Collection of European Paintings at Villa I Tatti (Milan, 2015), pp. 60, 69.
Miklós Boskovits. Italian Paintings of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries (Washington, 2016), p. 349.
Joanna Cannon. "Two works by Simone Martini in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo" in Lucio Riccetti (ed.). Cultura artistica nel cantiere del Duomo di Orvieto (Florence, forthcoming).

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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 the first Simone Martini to enter a collection in the United States.


Simone Martini

Virgin and Child