Altarpiece with stories of the Virgin and of the childhood of Christ

Unknownc. 1535

Palazzo Madama

Palazzo Madama
Torino, Italy

Purchased by the Museum on the antiques market in 1998, this altarpiece was part of the renovation and decoration plan for the church of Santa Maria in Staffarda in the early sixteenth century. Giovanni Ludovico di Saluzzo had first-hand knowledge of the Flemish altarpieces that had come to Piedmont in previous years: at the beginning of the century, came one for the Pensa family in Mondovì and, in about 1470, the powerful Villa family brought the retablo of the Passion from Brussels (both works are now in the Musée Royale d’Art et d’Histoire in Brussels). The structure and iconography of the altarpiece are typical of the large Flemish retablos that were being made in those years. The sequence of scenes, built up like miniature dioramas, starts on the second level, on the left, with the Marriage of the Virgin; and continues lower down with the Nativity, the Circumcision, the Adoration of the Magi, and the Presentation in the Temple on the second level, to the right. At the centre there is the Death of the Virgin.
The back bears warranty marks branded by the Guild of Saint Luke of Antwerp, one of the most prestigious associations of artists and craftsmen in the region.

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  • Title: Altarpiece with stories of the Virgin and of the childhood of Christ
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: c. 1535
  • Location Created: Antwerp, Belgium
  • Physical Dimensions: w180 x h200 cm
  • Origins: From the Abbey of Staffarda and later from the castle at Pollenzo
  • Date of acquisition: 1998
  • Acquisition: Purchase
  • Provenance: Museo Civico d'Arte Antica - Palazzo Madama, Turin
  • Type: Altarpieces
  • Rights: http://www.palazzomadamatorino.it/copyright.php
  • External Link: Museo Civico d'Arte Antica - Palazzo Madama, Turin
  • Medium: Carved, painted, gilded and silvered oak wood