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A man takes a woman’s hand surrounded by a crowd of figures in brightly colored clothing

In the center of this panel, a light-skinned woman in a blue gown and gold halo stands with her head bowed. A light-skinned, gray-haired, bearded man in a gold robe and gold halo places a ring on her right hand. Behind the pair and holding their hands is a man in an ornate red robe and pointed white hat. A toddler and wo light-skinned women in blue crowns stand behind the blue-robed woman. To the left of the bearded man is a crowd of young men in brightly colored robes. At the back, two of the men play long trumpets.

Gallery Text

This panel, originally from the predella of an altarpiece, shows a scene from the widely circulated Golden Legend, a collection of hagiographies written in the thirteenth century by Jacobus de Voragine, a Dominican priest. In the story of the Virgin’s marriage, her suitors were told to present rods at the temple in Jerusalem; the man with the flowering rod was given her hand. In this depiction, the aged Joseph receives his bride. Behind him, young men who failed to win the Virgin respond with various expressions of frustration as trumpets announce the victor. In addition to the rich colors and delicacy of a manuscript illumination, the composition borrows heavily from classical relief sculpture of a kind often found on the sides of sarcophagi.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Master of the Orcagnesque Misericordia, Italian (active c. 1350 - 1375)
Previously attributed to Agnolo Gaddi, Italian (1350 - 1396)
Previously attributed to Niccolò di Pietro Gerini, Italian (1368 - 1415)
The Marriage of the Virgin
Work Type
c. 1370-1375
Creation Place: Europe, Italy, Tuscany, Florence
Persistent Link


Level 2, Room 2500, European Art, 13th–16th century, Art and Image in Europe
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Physical Descriptions

Tempera and gold on panel
22.9 x 37.5 cm (9 x 14 3/4 in.)
framed: 31.75 x 44.77 x 5.08 cm (12 1/2 x 17 5/8 x 2 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Henry G. Bohn, sold [through Christie's, March 19, 1885, lot 114]. Robert Henry (1850-1929) and Evelyn Holford (1856-1943) Benson, London and Buckhurst Park, Sussex, by 1887, sold. [Duveen Brothers, London and New York, 1927]. [Richard Ederheimer, New York, 1936]. [Arnold Seligman Galleries, New York]. [Georges Seligman, Inc., New York], sold; to Dr. Lillian Malcove, 1957, gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1959.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Dr. Lillian Malcove
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

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Publication History

  • Catalogue of the Very Extensive and Valuable Collection of Pictures, Miniatures, Enamesl and Other Objects of Art, Formed during the Last Fifty Years by that Well-Known Amateur Henry G. Bohn, Esq., auct. cat. (London, March 19, 1885), p. 19, lot 114 [as by Giotto]
  • Royal Academy of Arts, Exhibition of Works by the Old Masters and by Deceased Masters of the British School; Including a Collection of Water-Colour Drawings by Joseph M. W. Turner, R.A., exh. cat., William Clowes and Sons, Ltd. (London, 1887), p. 43, cat. no. 182 [as Florentine School]
  • Catalogue of Italian Pictures at 16, South Street, Park Lane, London and Buckhurst in Sussex Collected by Robert and Evelyn Benson, Chiswick Press (London, 1914)
  • Claude Phillips, Florentine Painting before 1500, The Burlington Magazine (June 1919), vol. 34, no. 195, p. 210 [as Taddeo Gaddi]
  • Tancred Borenius, R. Witt, and R. Fry, Catalogue of an Exhibition of Florentine Painting before 1500, exh. cat., Burlington Fine Arts Club (London, 1920), p. 19, no. 11, repr. as plate XI [as by Agnolo Gaddi]
  • Roberto Salvini, In margine ad Agnolo Gaddi, Rivista d'arte (1934), vol. 16, p. 222, repr. as fig. 9 [as by Maestro Vaticano]
  • A Selection of Paintings by the Old Masters, auct. cat., Studio of Richard Ederheimer (New York, 1936), No. 2, repr. [as by Angelo Gaddi]
  • Fogg Art Museum Acquisitions, 1959-1962, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, 1963), p. 83 [as by Agnolo Gaddi]
  • Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1972), p. 81 [as by Niccolò di Pietro Gerini]
  • Miklós Boskovits, Pittura Fiorentina all vigilia del Rinascimento, 1370-1400, Editrice Edam (Florence, 1975), p. 376, repr. as fig. 223
  • Howard Mayer Brown, Catalogus: A Corpus of Trecento Pictures with Musical Subject Matter, Imago Musicae, Bärenreiter-Verlag (Basel, 1985), Part I, Installment 2, pp. 276-277, cat. no. 344, repr. p. 277
  • Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990)
  • Meryle Secrest, Duveen, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. (New York, NY, 2004), p. 438

Exhibition History

  • Exhibition of Works by the Old Masters and by Deceased Masters of the British School; Including A Collection of Water-Colour Drawings by Joseph M. W. Turner, R.A. [Winter Exhibition], Royal Academy of Arts, 01/03/1887 - 03/12/1887
  • Florentine Painting Before 1500, Burlington Fine Arts Club, 01/01/1919 - 01/01/1919
  • Ideal [Dis-] Placements: Old Masters at the Pulitzer, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis, 10/24/2008 - 10/03/2009
  • 32Q: 2500 Renaissance, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project

Related Works

Verification Level

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