Giuliano da Rimini - Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints, 1307

Giuliano da Rimini (active Rimini, 1307 - 1324)

Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints, 1307

Tempera and gold on panel, 164 x 300 cm (64 9/16 x 118 1/8 in.) panel


Object details

Accession number



Commissioned by the Order of Clares for the Franciscan church of San Giovanni Decollato, Urbania.
In the sacristry of the Cathedral at Urbania by 1863.
Purchased by the painter Joseph Lindon Smith (1863–1950) from an Italian art restorer on Great Portland Street, London who said the painting belonged to his brother in Italy, May 1903.
Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from the painter Joseph Lindon Smith (1863-1950) for $1500 on 18 May 1903.


Inscribed (upper edge): +ANNO.DNI.MLLO..C.C.C.SETTIMO..IULIANUS..PICTOR.DEARIMINO..FECIT.OCHOPUS(sic).TENPORE(sic).DNI.CLEMENTIS..PP..QUINTI+ [A.D. 1307, Giuliano, painter from Rimini, made this work during the time of the Pope Clement V.]
Inscribed (middle): SANCUS FRANCISO IONES BATISTA S. JONAS (sic) EVEGL (sic) S.MARIA MAGDAL [names of saints on upper row]
Inscribed (lower edge): .SANCTA. .CLARA. SANCTA. KATHARINA. [names of saints on lower left] H HIC. EST VERA FRATERNITAS.QUE VIC MUDI CRIM(...) .MARIA.SECUTA.E.ICLITA TENES.REG.CELESTIA. [This is a true fraternity that conquers the world’s sins. Following the glorious Mary, you will obtain the kingdom of heaven.] .SANTA. AGNES. SANTA. .LUCIA. [names of saints on lower right]
Inscribed (scroll of St. John the Baptist): Ecce Agnus Dei &c.


John Murray. A Handbook for Travellers in Central Italy... (London, 1867), p. 295.
Osvald Sirén. "Giuliano, Pietro and Giovanni da Rimini." Burlington Magazine 29, no. 163 (Oct. 1916), pp. 276, 276-77, 280-81.
Philip Hendy. Catalogue of Exhibited Paintings and Drawings (Boston, 1931), pp. 175-78. (dated 1307)
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 252. (dated 1307)
Morris Carter. "Mrs. Gardner & The Treasures of Fenway Court" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 60.
R. J. Gettens and M. E. Mrose. "Calcium Sulphate Minerals in the Grounds of Italian Paintings." Studies in Conservation 1, no. 4 (Oct. 1954), pp. 174-89.
John White. "The Date of 'The Legend of St Francis' at Assisi." Burlington Magazine 98, no. 643 (Oct. 1956), pp. 344-51, figs. 4, 10. (dated 1307, St. Francis iconography dependent on frescoes at Assisi)
Decio Gioseffi. "Lo scolgimento del linguaggio Giottesco da Assisi a Padova: il soggiorno riminese el la componente ravennate." Arte Veneta (1961), pp. 11-24, figs. 14, 15, 18, 19, 21.
Corinna Lindon Smith. Interesting People (Norman, Oklahoma, 1962), pp. 161-62.
“Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 6, no. 17 (23 Dec. 1962), pp. 1-2. (excerpting Corinna Lindon Smith, pp. 161-62)
“Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 6, no. 36 (5 May 1963), p. 2.
John White. Art and Architecture in Italy 1250-1400 (New Haven, 1966; reprint 1993), p. 344. (dated 1307)
George L. Stout. Treasures from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1969), pp. 196-97, ill. (dated 1307)
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), pp. 110-12. (dated 1307)
Bonnie Apgar Bennet. "Some Observations on an Early Italian Panel." Porticus 2 (1979), p. 24, 25, n. 7. (dated 1307)
James H. Stubblebine. "An Altarpiece by Guiliano da Rimini." Fenway Court (1982), pp. 14-27. (inscription as a later addition, dated 1320s-1340s)
Norman E. Muller. "The Development of Sgraffito in Sienese Painting" in Luciano Bellosi, ed. Simone Martini: Atti del convegno (Florence, 1988), pp. 147-50, figs. 2, 3.
Dillian Gordon. "A Dossal by Giotto and His Workshop: Some Problems of Attribution, Provenance and Patronage." Burlington Magazine 131, no. 1037 (Aug. 1989), p. 528.
Miklós Boskovits. "Per la storia della pittura tra la Romagna e le Marche ai primi del '300." Arte cristiana 91, no. 755 (1993), pp. 95-114, figs. 19, 28.
Carlo Volpe. La Pittura nell' Emilia e nella Romagna. Raccolta di scritte sul trecento e quattrocento (Bologna, 1993), p. 13, fig. 21. (dated 1307)
Alessandro Volpe. Giotto e i Riminesi: Il gotico e l'antico nella pittura di primo Trecento (Milan, 2002), pp. 82-85, ill.
Alan Chong et al. (eds.) Eye of the Beholder: Masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 2003), pp. 36-37, ill. (dated 1307)
Anna Koopstra. Giovanni da Rimini: Scenes from the Lives of the Virgin and other Saints, Exh. cat. (London: National Gallery, 2017), pp. 12, 14, fig. 1.

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This altarpiece was made for a religious order of nuns, and the painter specifically tailored its imagery to devout women. It was commissioned by the Order of Clares for the church of S. Giovanni Decollato in Urbania, a small town near Urbino. The order had been co-founded by Saint Clare (1194–1263), who is depicted at the lower left. She was a close follower of Saint Francis, who is shown above her. Three other female saints — Catherine, Agnes, and Lucy— are seen on the lower arcade, while Mary Magdalene is depicted opposite Saint Francis. Clustered around the Virgin’s throne are devout women: some wear habits, one wears a crown. These supplicants represent the order that commissioned the painting, and some of them may be portraits of the wealthy donors. The inscription directly describes the “true” confraternity and the intercessory power of the Virgin.

Source: Alan Chong, "Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints," in Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 37.