Virgin and Child with Saints Simone Martini about 1320 Gold and tempera on panel
Simone Martini achieved unprecedented fame in his own lifetime. This is his largest surviving work outside of Italy and one of the earliest altarpieces in the museum. Delicate and otherworldly, with its finely tooled gold background, this polyptych (a multi-paneled altarpiece) comes from the Church of the Servites in Orvieto, Italy. Above the Virgin and Child is a victorious and blessing Christ, displaying his wounds; the saints to either side carry identifying attributes. On the pinnacles above the saints, angels hold symbols of the Crucifixion and summon the Last Judgment with their trumpets.
Once again, this acquisition showed that Gardner was ahead of the curve; it was the first Simone Martini to enter a collection in the United States.