The Birth of the Virgin

20.6 x 33.5 cm; tempera and gold leaf on wood (FC 514)

This small, precious panel and its companion (The Marriage of the Virgin, FC 508) probably flanked the Presentation in the Temple (now in Upton House, National Trust), forming a predella with Stories of the Virgin from the Apocrypha that would have stood under an altarpiece of the type seen in the church of Sant’Andrea in Siena. The joyful scene of delicate beauty and intense spirituality is set in a luxurious location, with a richly decorated surface and an extensive use of gold. Space is organized according to the norms of the Gothic era, enabling us to assume that the painting was created during the youthful phase of the artist, in the first half of the fifteenth century.