Cenni di Francesco

Portable Tryptic, c. 1365

The tabernacle, painted on both sides, displays a very varied iconography in its several panels. The upper side panels show the Annunciation with the Virgin and the Archangel Gabriel, while in the centre we see the Holy Trinity with Two Evangelists. The depiction of the Holy Trinity with three images of Christ side by side, as though revisiting in a Christian sense the Bible story of God's appearance to Abraham in the shape of three men, is most intriguing. In the main panel the Virgin and Child are enthroned with saints and prophets, while on the left and right respectively, top to bottom, we have The Marriage of Tobias and Sarah, St. Anthony the Abbot, St. Christopher and St. Onuphrius, St. Francis, St. Augustine and St. Peter Martyr and the Gospel scene known as Noli Me Tangere. On the back of the two panels we have Christ the Man of Sorrows and the Crucifixion. The tabernacle is by Florentine master Cenni di Francesco di Ser Cenni who kept the flame of Giotto's art alive at the turn of the 14th century and on into the early decades of the 15th. He is best known for his frescoes in the Oratory of the Cross in the church of San Francesco in Volterra.