Jacopo del Casentino, Madonna and Child Enthroned

Tempera on wood
Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

The Virgin Mary is in the traditional costume, a red robe under a blue mantle with a star at the shoulder. As customary in the 14th century, the baby wears a child-appropriate garment rather than the regal or hieratic clothing of earlier times.

Left of the throne is St. Bernard of Clairvaux in his white Cistercian habit and abbatial crozier. On the right is St. John the Baptist in his camel-skin tunic. The words on the banderole in his hand are most likely from John 1:29, Ecce agnus dei, etc..

The female saint on the left leaf. The upright sword in her right hand has dimmed with time.

On the inside of the left leaf are St. Francis receiving the stigmata, above, and two woman saints, below. The woman on the left is St. Mary Magdalene, holding the ointment jar that is her attribute. The one on the right is not identified. The sword in her right hand is a common attribute of Catherine of Alexandria, but usually it is paired with a broken wheel. Sometimes a portrait of St. Agnes will give her a sword, but along with the lamb, which in the West is almost always her attribute.

The Crucifixion on the right leaf is typical of this era. Jesus' body is presented as lifeless, as in most works from the 12th century onward. The angel collecting his blood is a detail that comes into favor in the 14th. One might observe that there is less emphasis on pathos in this image than in others of this century. Mary, who faints into her cousins' arms in some earlier Crucifixions and in many later ones, here simply stands erect and gazes on her son. She and John show emotion but are hardly the picture of grief.

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Read more about the iconography of the Madonna and Child and the Crucifixion.
Read more about the iconography of St. Bernard, St. Francis, St. John the Baptist, and St. Mary Magdalene.

Photographed at the Uffizi by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.