The Italian painter Ambrogio Lorenzetti has gone down in history for his large civil-themed mural titled Good and Bad Government. Undoubtedly one of the best Italian Gothic paintings. However, as was usual in the art of the time, he also made numerous paintings on religious matters and here we have a sample of it with the Maesta that he made around the year 1335 and that today is kept in the Museum of Sacred Art of the village of Massa Marittima in Tuscany
Maestá de Massa Marittima by Ambrogio Lorenzetti
By the way, in the Duomo of this same town in Tuscany there is another contemporary Maestá made by an expert in this type of painting, the great Duccio de Buonisegna, the author of the famous Maestá de Siena who marked a style for these representations and who of course knew Lorenzetti.
In fact, Ambrogio painted several similar paintings and three different Maestás survive. I painted one for the chapel of San Galgano in Montesiepi, another in the church of San Agustín de Siena and lastly the one that concerns us here in Massa Marittima, a panel to the temple and gold of considerable dimensions (161 x 209 cm.).
Although the work is now in the city museum, he originally made it for an Augustinian church. That is why Saint Augustine can be identified standing and to the left of the Virgin, whileRight are Saint John the Evangelist, Saint Peter and Saint Paul. As well as the personifications of the theological Virtues and different recognizable saints such as Saint Nicholas of Bari, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Basil or Saint Catherine of Alexandria.
Obviously in the center is the Virgin with the Child in her arms. And around her there is a choir of musical angels. It is a very gothic scene, with all the codes of the time, but at the same time this author stands out for endowing his figures with humanity, hence that strong embrace with which a mother holds her son, protecting him, while the Boy, like a good baby, he looks dazzled at María, his mother.
Interestingly, such a large and important table for a church lost track of it. It disappeared in the 17th century and was not rediscovered until 1867. Although it was found divided into five pieces and some parts of the original set were also missing, such as the predella of the lower part, or pieces of the upper cusp. After that it was restored and initially placed in the Palacio del Podestá art gallery, until it was finally moved to the museum where it is preserved and exhibited today.