(b. 1280/85, Siena, d. 1344, Avignon)


Tempera on wood, 59 x 35 and 33 x 31 cm (each)
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

The polyptych mentioned by Vasari was painted around 1320-25 for the church of Sant'Agostino in San Gimignano. For a long time it was thought that this polyptych had been destroyed but recently a group of scholars have reconstructed its original appearance and traced the various pieces in several museums and collections throughout the world: the central panel was the Madonna and Child now in the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne, while the side panels are the three panels in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and a St Catherine in an Italian private collection.

The design of the polyptych with all the panels on a single register, the round-arch shape of the panels, as well as a rather archaic solidity of the figures and their severe and solemn rhythms, all suggest a fairly early dating: after Assisi (and there is a great similarity with the saints on the underside of the arch), but undoubtedly before the more Gothic Pisa Polyptych. Scholars almost unanimously agree that this polyptych is the autograph work of Simone, who probably also painted a Blessing Christ to be placed above the central panel.