Niccolò di Tommaso


Early 1360s
Wood, tempera, gilding. 71.1 x 50.5 cm

In the center: Virgin Mary and Child enthroned, St. Peter with the bishop, unknown saint, John the Baptist.
Left wing: Nativity of Christ; pinnacle pommel: Angel of the Annunciation.
Right wing: Crucifixion with the Virgin Mary, John the Evangelist and Mary Magdalene; pinnacle pommel: Annunciation of the Virgin Mary.

The presented triptych is a beautiful monument of personal piety in its artistic embodiment, created for one of the noble Florentine customers. It is especially valuable that the monument has been preserved in its complete ensemble with three doors. The inscription at the bottom of the central door reads: “Ave, Maria, gratia plena” (“Hail Mary, full of grace”). "Ave Maria" - a prayer to the Virgin Mary that was widespread in the Catholic world since the 12th century, indicates the purpose of this monument as an altar of individual, home piety and veneration of an icon related in its function.

In the center of the composition, the Virgin Mary holds a rose, which the Child is trying to take. In antiquity, the rose was considered a flower associated with another world. Since the 12th century, the time of the spread of the cult of the Mother of God in medieval Europe, this flower has become one of her symbols: stained glass roses and prayers read to the Virgin Mary using rosaries appear. The mystical rose appears in Dante's Divine Comedy. In the Romance of the Rose, popular at that time, as well as in courtly literature in general, the rose was a reference to the beloved. Mary's facial features are interpreted in a particularly soft and feminine way. A more specific iconographic prototype of the Mother of God with a rose in her hand is a French Gothic sculpture. In a Florentine context, it may also refer to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flowers).

Albert Stein Collection before 1947, New York;
Frederick Henry Prince Collection, Illinois;
William and Eleanor Wood Prince Collection, Chicago;
James and Doris Donovan Collection, Illinois;
Charity auction in favor of Benedictine University, 2007;
Private collection, Russia.