Francesco da Rimini (active 1330-50)

Francesco da Rimini

The Angel of the Annunciation, Nativity to the Shepherds and Adoration of the Magi

Rimini, about 1330-50

Tempera on wood

44.3 x 20.3 cm

This panel is divided vertically into three sections, each section containing a story relating to the birth of Jesus. At the top, the Angel Gabriel kneels and faces the right side. He raises his arm in a greeting. This important detail reveals that the painting once had an accompanying panel that completed this motif.

Francesco da Rimini was an important artist who completed small objects, like this one, and large frescoes (wall paintings) across the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy. His native city, Rimini, is a port on the Adriatic coast that had strong trading links with the Byzantine Empire in the Eastern Mediterranean. Byzantine icons had an important influence on Riminese paintings, particularly in the intense application of gold and multi-sectioned panels. Sadly, Rimini was bombed during World War Two, destroying most of the city’s heritage. This panel is one of around 100 Riminese panels that still exist from the 1300s.

The panel would have had multiple functions. It would have been propped up on a desk and prayed to, then folded away during travel or storage. The damage on the bottom edge is caused either by water damage or contact with a candle flame during Christian worship. It is an object that bears the marks of its own history.

Purchased 1942 (No. 42.10)

Further reading:

Lord Balniel and Clark, Kenneth, Commemorative Catalogue of the Exhibition of Italian Art held in the galleries of the Royal Academy, Burlington House, London, 1931.

Boskovits, Miklós, ‘Per la storia della pittura tra la Romagna e le Marche ai primi del ’300’, Arte Cristiana, 81, 1993, pp. 163-82.

Brandi, Cesare, Mostra della Pittura Rimenese del Trecento, Rimini, 1935.

Fry, Roger, ‘Notes on the Italian Exhibition at Burlington House-I’, The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, 56/323, 1930, pp. 72–89.

Poggetto, Paolo dal, The National Gallery of the Marche and the other Collections in the Ducal Palace in Urbino, Rome, 2009.

Salmi, Mario, ‘Francesco da Rimini’, Bollettino D’Arte, 26, 1932, pp. 249-62.

Zeri, Federico, ‘The Triptychs of the Beata Chiara of Rimini’, The Burlington Magazine, 92/570, 1950, pp. 247-51.

The Green Gallery Project

This artwork was part of a research project into the Barber’s pre-1600 Italian paintings.