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Coronation of the Virgin Altarpiece, 1344

Guariento di Arpo

Italian, c.1310-c.1370
Tempera and gold leaf on panels (32)
overall: 86 x 104-3/8 in. (218.4 x 265.1 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
M.1987.3.01-32.P
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

Mary’s coronation as Queen of Heaven occupies the center of the altarpiece, with smaller narrative scenes and representations of saints and angels surrounding it. The altarpiece illustrates the major events of the New Testament in pictorial form. It likely occupied the place of honor above the main altar in the church of San Martino in Piove di Sacco, outside of Padua.

Guariento di Arpo worked in Padua, where the influence of Giotto was primary. Like his famous predecessor, Guariento endows his figures with solidity and naturalism. His own highly individual expression is evident in the refined linear technique and limpid color, which anticipate the International Gothic style. The gold-leaf background emphasizes the spiritual nature of these Christian mysteries.

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