Simone Martini (Italian [Siena], ca. 12841344)
Tempera on panel; Overall: 23 1/8 x 15 1/2 in. (58.8 x 39.6 cm); Painted Surface: 22 1/2 x 15 1/8 in. (57.2 x 38.4 cm)
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975 (1975.1.12)
This beautifully preserved panel, together with a related work depicting Saint Ansanus in the Robert Lehman Collection (1975.1.13) and a third panel of Saint Andrew (41.100.23), formed part of an altarpiece commissioned by the civic government of Siena. The format of the polyptych was highly unusual in that the central image, the Madonna and Child, was the same size as the flanking panels, allowing the entire altarpiece, which was intended to be portable, to be easily folded and moved. In the fifteenth century, Simone's panels were incorporated as the central elements of a larger altarpiece in the principal chapel of the Palazzo Pubblico, Siena's town hall. Like the other two panels from this polyptych in the Museum's collection, the Madonna and Child survives with its original frame intact.