Master of the Transfiguration of Syracuse, The Virgin Enthroned with Saints

Mid-15th century
Bellomo Palace, Syracuse, Sicily

Four donors flank the throne of the Virgin and her naked child. The saints are all identifiable by their attributes: the Magdalene's oil jar, Agatha's breasts, John the Baptist's camel-skin tunic and "Lamb of God" symbol, and Paul's sword.

The figures in the Transfiguration panel are all based on the scriptural accounts: Moses and Elijah flank the mandorla containing Jesus while the Apostles Peter, James, and John register their astonishment below (Matthew 17, Mark 9, Luke 9). The scroll at the top quotes Mark 9:7, HIC EST FILIUS MEUS DILECTUS IN QUO CONPLACUI, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

The scroll next to Peter gives his words to Jesus upon seeing the Transfiguration: Domine bonum est nos hic esse si vis faciamus hic tria tabernacula tibi unum et Mosi unum et Heliae unum, "Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah" (Matthew 17:4).

The scroll beneath the mandorla says nemini dixeritis visionem donec Filius hominis a mortuis resurgat, which is Jesus' command to the Apostles as they re-descend the mountain: "Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead" (Matthew 17:9).

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View detail photos, with commentary, of St. Agatha and St. Lucy.
Read more about The Virgin and Child, the Transfiguration , St. Mary Magdalene, St. Agatha, St. John the Baptist, and St. Paul.

Photographed at the Bellomo Palace by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.