GOES, Hugo van der
(b. ca. 1440, Ghent, d. 1482, Bruxelles)

Sts Margaret and Mary Magdalene with Maria Portinari

Oil on wood, 253 x 141 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

The right wing of the Portinari Triptych shows Tommaso Portinari's wife, Maria Baroncelli, with her elder daughter Margherita, accompanied by Mary Magdalene and St Margaret. The beast between them is a dragon, the attribute of St Margaret referring to the legend of St Margaret. According to the legend she was thrown into prison because she rejected Olybrius, the Roman governor. In the prison she was attacked by the Devil and, while at prayer, swallowed by a dragon. Since she was carrying a small crucifix she was able to cut a hole in the monster's belly and escaped.