Every detail of this altarpiece is executed with methodical precision. The iconography of the various saints is clearly defined, like the bow in the bottom right corner with which St. Sebastian was martyred, or St. Augustine’s illustrated bishop’s cope. A rich variety of ornament adorns the Virgin’s throne, including beads of coral, garlands of fruit, and a multicolored canopy. Classical arcades, impressively foreshortened, bookend the scene.
The Neapolitan church of San Pietro ad Aram commissioned this painting in 1509 from the Bolognese artist Antonio Rimpatta. It was completed in 1511 and placed within a gilded wood frame carved by Giovanni da Nola, the foremost sculptor in Naples during the sixteenth century. The figure in blue on the far left of the painting is believed to be a self-portrait of the painter.