To create these panels, a Florentine artist first drew the figures on the cotton canvases and then gave them to an embroiderer, who enriched them with brilliantly colored silks, gold threads and variety of stitches. The scenes have great narrative charm-note especially the housemaid of the Virgin who quietly witnesses the angel's visit, and the baby Jesus who tries to retreat to his mother's arms during the Holy Family's visit to the Temple.
The panels are part of a larger ensemble that once decorated an altar. Florentine embroideries rarely survive, though they were once prized throughout Europe.
Please note that this textile is exhibited on a rotating basis due to conservation requirements.
[ Adolph Loewi, Inc., Los Angeles (sold 1960)]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ninety-First Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year 1960-1961." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 20, no. 2 (October 1961). p. 68.
Fossen, David Van. "A Fourteenth Century Embroidered Florentine Antependium." The Art Bulletin 50, no. 2 (June 1968). pp. 141-144, fig. 5-9, 11-12,15-16.
Ostoia, Vera K. The Middle Ages: Treasures from the Cloisters and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1969. no. 72A, pp. 156-159, 258.
Wardwell, Anne E. "On the Dating of a Dismantled Trecento Altar Frontal." Bulletin de Liaison du Centre International d'Etude des Textiles Anciens 55-56 (1982). pp. 141-153, fig. 1.