The Annunciation of the Virgin’s pregnancy is represented in two upper compartments, while in the central panel Mary breastfeeds the newborn Christ. Flanked by saints Sebastian and Dominic on the left and right, she is venerated by votaries at the base of her throne. These likely include portraits of the work’s patrons. Below, Christ wears the crown of thorns while bordered by various women saints.
Painted for the Dominican church of San Pietro e Sebastiano, this polyptych offers a valuable record of the obscure artist Stefano Sperano. Like Francesco Cicino, he was from Caiazzo and shares the same Umbrian style. Later Sperano was called one of Naples’s two leading painters, along with Andrea Sabatini da Salerno, by the sixteenth-century Neapolitan intellectual Pietro Summonte. Yet unlike Sabatini, most of Sperano’s work is lost.