Artibus et Historiae no. 44 (XXII)

2001, ISSN 0391-9064

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MARILYN ARONBERG LAVIN - The Stella Altarpiece. Magnum Opus of the Cesi Master

An astonishing image of Christ and Mary wrapped in an amorous embrace as the sponsus/sponsa of the 'Song of Songs' is the central image of a major winged altarpiece attributed to the early 14th-century painter known as the Maestro di Cesi. Based on the motifs in the partially ruined fresco by Cimabue in the Upper Church of San Francesco in Assisi, until now it has been seen as derivative work, useful only in helping to recreate the more important fresco. Cleaned and restored and recently identified as having been painted for the Augustinian Monastero della Stella in Spoleto, the altarpiece now takes its place as a major work of the early Italian trecento, admirable for its precious technique and commendable for it iconographical innovations.

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