Duccio di Buoninsegna

The National Gallery

The seven figures in the tympanum above the central panel, are the Old Testament prophets Daniel, Moses, Isaiah, David, Abraham, Jacob and Jeremiah; on the left wing, Saint Dominic; on the right wing, Saint Aurea (probably Aurea of Ostia).

It may have been made for the private devotion of Cardinal Niccolò da Prato (died 1321), a high-ranking Dominican who was Cardinal of Ostia and would therefore have had reason to venerate Saint Aurea of Ostia, otherwise rarely shown.

This type of small-scale altarpiece with closing shutters was intended to be portable.The dimensions of this triptych are identical to those of a triptych of 'The Crucifixion with Saints Nicholas and Gregory' on the shutters (Boston, Museum of Fine Arts) which also seems to have been painted in Duccio's workshop. The exterior of the shutters in both triptychs have the same geometric patterns. The geometric patterns painted on the shutters prompt the worshipper as to the correct order of opening.


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