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Altar frontal : Scenes of the life of the Virgin

This painted work on wood, from an English Dominican church, is a rare example of medieval painting from the 14th century.

The panel depicts several episodes in the life of the Virgin, in succession, including  the Nativity, the Death of the Virgin and the Adoration of the Magi. The final scene, to the right, is more rarely shown: it illustrates her Education, given by her mother, St Mary.

The scenes, in a refined style influenced by Parisian painting, are placed on a background with an embossed decoration of small and remarkably intricate motifs enhanced with gold.

Acquired in 1864, this altar frontal has a matching altarpiece, discovered in 1920 in a barn in Suffolk (UK), which is still held at the church in Thornam Parva (Suffolk).

Inventory no.: Cl. 7726
Height: 94 cm
Width: 302 cm
Period: 2nd quarter of the 14th century