Altarpiece with Christ, Saint John the Baptist, and Saint Margaret

Andrea da Giona (Italian, active ca. 1434–46)

Made in Savona, Liguria, Italy
Carrara marble
Overall: 72 x 80 x 5 in., 1614lb. (182.9 x 203.2 x 12.7 cm, 732.1kg) a: central panel: 505lb. (229066.5g) b: Top center: 210lb. (95255.4g) c: Saint John (L): 329lb. (149233.4g) d: Saint Margaret (R): 194lb. (87997.8g) e: Kneeling Angel: 121lb. (54885.2g) f: Bottom Central Panel: 181lb. (82101.1g) g: Plinth (L): 28lb. (12700.7g) h: Modern Plinth (R): 28lb. (12700.7g) i: Angel Wing (Modern): 18lb. (8164.7g)
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1962
Accession Number:
  • Description

    This marble retable is a rarity because it is signed and dated at the bottom of the center panel: HOC OPUS FECIT MAGISTER AND[R]EAS DA GIONA, MCCCCXXXIIII (made by Master Andrea da Giona, 1434). The retable itself comes from Savona, west of Genoa (in today's Liguria), but the sculptor, Master Andrea, was from the town of Giona in the Ticino, which in the fifteenth century was part of Lombardy. Here Master Andrea, like some of his fellow Lombard sculptors, has clearly assimilated aspects of Venetian art in his style—for example, the foliate decoration at top. Also, while he has retained such Gothic decorative elements as the pointed arches, other details, including the contrapposto posture of Saint Margaret and the scalloped niche above her, reveal his familiarity with emerging Renaissance style.

    At the center of the relief is Christ enthroned in majesty in a mandorla and surrounded by music-making angels. Symbols of the Four Evangelists fill the spandrels. Christ is flanked on the left by Saint John the Baptist, in a hair shirt, and on the right by Saint Margaret, with a dragon by her feet. The figures of the two saints are surmounted by the Archangel Gabriel (at left) and the Annunciate Virgin (at right), both framed by gables.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Signature: Signed and Dated: Andrea de Giona, 1434.

    Inscription: (on lower edge of central panel): HOC OPUS FECIT MAGISTER AND- [R]EAS DA GIONA, MCCCCXXXIIII

  • Provenance

    From the church of San Giovanni Battista, Savona; Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta , Savona (until 1774) ; Chiodo Family , Savona (until 1932) ; [ Francesco Romano , Florence (sold 1962)]

  • See also
    In the Museum