DADDI, Bernardo
(b. ca. 1280, Firenze, d. 1348, Firenze)

Polyptych of San Pancrazio

before 1338
Tempera on wood
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

This dismembered polyptych formed the high altarpiece painted by Bemardo Daddi during the 1330s for the church of San Pancrazio, Florence. Some parts are missing, nearly all of the remaining parts of the altarpiece are preserved in the Uffizi, Florence.

The design of the altarpiece was fairly elaborate, with panels ranged in three tiers extending downwards from the main field into the predella below and terminating above in a series of gabled pinnacles. The principal section shows the Virgin and Child Enthroned with three full-length saints on either side (Sts Pancrazio, Zenobius and John the Evangelist to the left and Sts John the Baptist, Reparata and Miniato to the right). The predella comprises scenes from the early life of the Virgin: Joachim being banished from the Temple, Joachim and the shepherds, Meeting at the Golden Gate, Birth of the Virgin, Presentation of Mary in the Temple, Annunciation, Birth of Christ. (The sixth panel in the narrative sequence, the Marriage of the Virgin is in the Royal Collection, Windsor.)

The scale of the altarpiece was no doubt inspired by the multi-tiered high altarpieces painted by the Sienese artist, Ugolino di Nerio, for the churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce, Florence, both of which can be dated before the San Pancrazio altarpiece.

It is apparent that the altarpiece began its peregrination as early as the end of the fourteenth century when San Pancrazio was rebuilt for the first time. By the second half of the eighteenth century, after much further reconstruction, the altarpiece had been dismembered and moved to the abbots apartment in the monastery attached to the church, which was suppressed in 1808. Shortly afterwards the altarpiece was transferred to the Uffizi.

The sizes of the panels are as follows.

Panel with the Madonna, 168 x 55,5 cm

Each panel with the saints, 127,5 x 41,5 cm

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.