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14th century religious paintings reunited for National Gallery 200th anniversary

Religious paintings by 14th century artists are being reunited for the 200th anniversary of the National Gallery.

Siena: The Rise Of Painting 1300‒1350, which also celebrates the earliest pictures in its collection, will display triptychs and images of crucifixions which were created in the Italian city, the country and across Europe at the London museum.

One ensemble, a double-sided altarpiece known as the Maesta, which was painted by Sienese artist Duccio di Buoninsegna for the city’s cathedral, was broken up in the 18th century.

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The National Gallery in London’s Trafalgar Square (John Stillwell/PA)

The museum in Trafalgar Square owns three panels and these will be shown alongside other paintings depicting Christ’s life.

These include Christ And The Woman Of Samaria from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid and The Calling Of The Apostles Peter And Andrew from the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

The artist’s triptychs The Virgin And Child With Saint Dominic and Saint Aurea, and Patriarchs And Prophets, housed at the National Gallery and The Crucifixion; The Redeemer With Angels; Saint Nicholas; Saint Clement, kept the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, are thought to have been made as a pair thanks to matching decorations on their exterior wings.

They will be brought back together at the exhibition.

Another reunion will be the Orsini Polyptych by Sienese artist Simone Martini, a pupil of di Buoninsegna, who is believed to have created the piece for Cardinal Napoleone Orsini, a member of one of medieval and Renaissance Italy’s leading families.

The panels of Christ Bearing The Cross, Crucifixion, Descent From The Cross and Entombment, The Archangel Gabriel and The Virgin Of The Annunciation are currently looked after at the Louvre in Paris, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp and the Gemaldegalerie in Berlin.

Paintings by Pietro Lorenzetti and his brother Ambrogio Lorenzetti will also be shown along with metalwork, enamel, gilded glass, wood, marble, and manuscript illumination by Sienese artists and a selection of works such as ivories, enamels, illuminated manuscripts, rugs and silks from other places.

Siena: The Rise of Painting 1300‒1350 will open in spring 2025.