The Dormition of the Virgin

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Bohemian School
14th century
Bohemia, ca. 1355-1360
Tempera and gold on linen-covered panel.
panel: 12 x 7 1/2 inches (305 x 190 mm); framed: 13 3/4 x 9 1/2 inches (350 x 240 mm)
Purchased by J.P. Morgan, Jr., 1931.

Companion of the "Adoration of the Magi" panel, AZ022.1.
Crafted at the court of Holy Roman Emperor Charles iv (r. 1346-78) at Prague, these exquisite panels (AZ022.1-2) likely formed a diptych-commissioned perhaps by the emperor himself. In the scene of the three kings adoring the Christ child, the second magus has the features of Charles, and his red cloak bears the imperial eagle. In the panel depicting the Virgin's death, St. Peter wears the three-tiered papal tiara. These details allude to the delicate balance between sacred and terrestrial power.

Dowdeswell & Dowdeswell, London; Dr. Friedrich Lippmann, Berlin; his wife, until 1931; purchased by J.P. Morgan, Jr. in 1931.

Virgin on her death bed surrounded by different saints. An angel holds a palm. St. Peter is shown officiating at the funeral and is represented wearing the triple-crowned papal tiara. The Virgin and Child from heaven, upper center of the painting, observe the scene.