Santa Trinita Maestà

Tempera on wood
Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
Provenance: Church of the Holy Trinity, Florence

The central figures derive from the eastern Virgin Hodegetria iconographic type. The Virgin Mary gazes directly at the viewer while pointing to her child, who holds a scroll or book and wears clothing suitable to his dignity as Son of God.

Cimabue, who first learned his art from Greek painters who had been invited to Florence (Vasari, I, 331-32), adopts this genre for the figures themselves but stays with the western tradition of picturing them on a throne, which is never done in the East. He also reverses the colors of the Greek Hodegetria's clothing: blue over red instead of red over blue. And he omits the star on the shoulder that is common, though not universal, in eastern images of Mary.

In the arches below the throne are four prophets with scrolls bearing, presumably, their prophecies regarding Christ and Mary.

View this image in full resolution.
Read more about the Madonna and Child.

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