Virgin and Child with Saints Francis, Andrew, Paul, Peter, Stephen, and Louis of Toulouse
Ugolino di Nerio
Italian (active 1317-1327)
Tempera on panel
This large altarpiece was painted in Italy in the early fourteenth century, probably to decorate the main altar of a church in Siena, in central Italy in the fourteenth century. It was painted by Ugolino di Nerio, a follower of the Siennese artist Duccio. The figures of the infant Jesus and his mother, the Virgin Mary, appear in the center, with Christian saints arranged on either side of them and six Hebrew prophets in the triangular pinnacles above. Some of these figures can be recognized because of what they are wearing or carrying: for example, Saint Peter, the figure nearest the Virgin and Child on their left, holds a key to the Kingdom of Heaven, and King David (directly above Peter) wears a crown. Like the other prophets, David carries a scroll with an inscription that Christians believed foretold the birth of Christ.