Triptych of the Uffizi

back: Chapel of St. George, Mantua

Triptych of the Uffizi

Andrea Mantegna  >  Chapel of St. George, Mantua

The Triptych of the Uffizi is part of a series of paintings that, according to Kristeller, were made by Andrea Mantegna between 1460 and 1464. It comprises three wood panels with the Adoration of the Magi, the Circumcision and the Ascension. They are still kept in a frame from the 1800 which hold them together in an elegant way, albeit arbitrary.




The paintings were a request of Ludovico II Gonzaga for the Chapel of the Castel of S. George in Mantua and they remained there for one century. In 1563, on the occasion of the restructuring of the chapel by Bertoni, the paintings were taken from their original place and from that moment their scattering started. In 1587 the three panels were documented in Valle Muggia, near Pistoia, in the house of don Antonio de' Medici, son of Bianca Cappello, and in 1632 they were inherited by the Medici of Florence, thus becoming part of the family collection. In 1827 they were framed with a gold wooden frame as still seen in the Uffizi Gallery today.

After all the moving around, it has not yet been possible to go back to the original setting up of the works in the chapel of Mantua. The Adoration of the Magi, painted on a concave support, indicates that the work should fit on the curvature of the apse, similar to the painting found in the Chapel of Forgiveness in the Ducal Palace at Urbino.

On the other hand, it is easier to notice a fundamental coherence in the chosen subjects, which all together seem to be part of the same project. The iconographic programme is actually focused on the theme of the Redemption, comprising the Storie della Madonna and the Passion of Christ. Based on this and on strong analogies of style and dating, scholars believe that the three panels represent just a small part of a much bigger group of works, to which were part also other paintings seen in old documents, today lost. Among these, the Ressurection, the Three Marys and the Noli me Tangere could also be part, know through the copies housed in the National Gallery of London.


A. Cocchi

Trad.: A. Sturmer



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Tags:Alessandra Cocchi, A. Sturmer, Mantegna, triptych, Ludovico II Gonzaga, Renaissance, .


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