(doc. 1298, Siena, d. ca. 1331, Siena)

St Silvester Gozzolini

Tempera on wood, gold ground, 125 x 53 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This panel belonged to a now dismembered pentaptych (five-paneled altarpiece). In its original configuration, St Benedict was the left, St Silvester Gozzolini the right and the Madonna and Child the centre panels (all in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). The centre panel was flanked by panels depicting St John the Baptist (Perkins Collection, Sacro Convento di San Francesco, Assisi), and St John the Evangelist (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).

When intact, the altarpiece would have resembled Duccio's polyptych in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena (the so-called polyptych 47). The pairing of Sts John the Baptist and John the Evangelist - the forerunner of Christ and the beloved disciple - to either side of the Madonna and Child is not uncommon and may relate either to the dedication of the chapel or to the name of the patron. On the other hand, the presence of Sts Benedict (c. 480–543) and Silvester Gozzolini (1177–1267) virtually assures that the altarpiece was painted for a monastery of the Silvestrine order, which was founded by Silvester in 1231 and followed the rule of St Benedict.