The Virgin and Child in Majesty and the Adoration of the Magi
Attributed to the Master of Pedret Spanish
Mounted in the apse from Fuentidueña, this fresco originally came from a different site, the church of the Virgin near Tredòs, nestled in the Pyrenees near the border between Spain and France. Despite its remote location, the church occupied a strategic position in the mountains, at the head of the Garonne River, and its paintings reveal a connection to the arts of far-off lands. This fresco’s style, subject, and composition have roots in the arts of the Byzantine Empire in the eastern Mediterranean, brought by traveling artists first to Italy and from there to Catalonia. Like its Byzantine and Italian antecedents, the painting shows Mary framed in an almond-shaped, full-body halo with the infant Jesus on her lap. Mother and son are presented as the powerful recipients of prayers, ready to act on behalf of the worshippers below. At left and right, the archangels Gabriel and Michael serve as advocates for the faithful, while the three magi, the smallest figures, offer gifts in adoration. In 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, the church of the Virgin was sacked. Subsequently, its frescoes were acquired by museums and private collectors, while other objects from the church disappeared entirely.