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The Archbishop panel
Painted altar panel from Saint Vincent de Fora
Portugal, 15th century


A larger image of The Archbishop panel, Saint Vincent de Fora, Portugal

Panels of St. Vincent
Author: Nuno Gonçalves (active 1450-1491)
c. 1470
Oil (?) and tempera on oak
207,2 x 64,2 cm; 207 x 60 cm; 206,4 x 128cm; 206,6 x 60,4cm; 206,5 x 63,1 cm
Provenance: Paço de São Vincent de Fora, Lisbon, 1913

The six paintings attributed to Nuno Gonçalves present a group of 58 people gathered together around the double figuration of St. Vincent. A solemn and monumental assembly, representing the Court and various groups of Portuguese society at that time, engaged in an act of veneration directed towards the patron and inspiration of the 15th-century military expansion into the Maghreb.

In this ceremonial picture, these figures, depicted in clearly established volumes, and characterised not only by the expressive look of concentration on their faces and their attitudes, but also by the sophisticated pictorial definition of their costumes and accessories, seem to combine the purposefulness of an evocative narration with a contemplative vision.

Although any complete understanding of the intention and significance of this work still remains quite problematic, it is believed that the author of the panels was the royal painter of King Afonso V, Nuno Gonçalves, and that they originally formed part of the altarpiece of St. Vincent in the chancel of Lisbon cathedral.
Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon



Nuno Gonçalves (active 1450-1471)
Altarpiece of Saint Vincent, the Archbishop panel
1460s
Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon
School: Portuguese
Form: painting
There is strong circumstantial evidence that Gonçalves was responsible for the St Vincent polyptych, the outstanding Portuguese painting of the 15th century. The style is rather dry, but powerfully realistic, and the polyptych contains a superb gallery of highly individualized portraits of members of the court, including a presumed self-portrait.
Web Gallery of Art
The Knights panel, altar from Saint Vincent de Fora, Portugal, 15th century



See also Portugese & Moors in The Pastrana Tapestries of Alfonso V of Portugal, late 15th century
Index of Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers