- "San Giovenale Triptych" by Tommaso Cassai (Masaccio) [Selected Works]
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San Giovenale Triptych

Madonna and Child Enthroned, with Two Angels and Saints Bartholomew, Blaise, Giovenale, and Anthony Abbot

1422: San Pietro, Cascia di Reggello

This early work by Masaccio (almost certainly completed around the age of 20), shows the Madonna and Child in the central panel, with Saints Bartholomew and Blaise on the left, and Gaints Giovenale and Anthony Abbot on the right, each with his individual symbol. At the Virgin's feet are two angels turned inward toward her, the one on the left gesturing with open arms, the one on the right praying. The throne appears to be of wood, befitting Masaccio's family background as cabinetmakers. The Christ child is holding grapes in his left hand, while eating them with his right one (a reference to the Eucharist).

Originally there was an inscription on the front step of Mary's throne, which seems to have read Ave Maria Dominus Tecum Benedicta. Another inscription, in Arabic, incised into the Madonna's golden halo. Apparently, this refers to Allah and to his prophet Muhammad. Why such an inscription should embellish the mother of Christ is difficult to establish. A third inscription runs along the lower base of the whole triptych, naming the four saints above and giving a date - 23 April 1422.
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