Virgin and Child with a Papal Saint and Saint Dominic

Benozzo GozzoliAround 1440-45

The Courtauld Institute of Art

The Courtauld Institute of Art
London, United Kingdom

Princes Gate bequest, 1978

The Virgin Mary and Christ Child sit on a wide throne and are surrounded by two saints: an unidentified pope and Saint Dominic, who holds a book and a lily. Seemingly plucked from the floral background, the pure white lily symbolises Dominic’s chastity.

Evidence of a hinge — now concealed by the frame — suggests that this work was once the left panel of a folding diptych, or pair of paintings.

Its size meant it could travel with its owner, who would have opened it like a book when praying.


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