A Female Saint

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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A female saint clasps a martyr’s palm and a richly bound book. We don't know who she was meant to be, but her wrinkled skin shows that she was no longer young. Although her clothing is restrained she is dressed as a laywoman, not a nun, and was clearly well educated: in medieval art books were symbols of learning.

This painting is from the upper level of a large polyptych (multi-panelled altarpiece) painted by Giorgio Schiavone, possibly for the church of San Niccolò in Padua. Other panels from the altarpiece are also in our collection. We are not sure what order they were in originally but this lady must have been on the right, looking inwards.

The National Gallery, London



A Female Saint


probably about 1456-61


Tempera on wood


H 32.5 x W 25 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bought, 1860

Work type



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