The altarpiece "Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saint Justus of Volterra and Saint Margaret of Antioch" by Sebastiano Mainardi (1466–1513)
I painted section of this masterpiece for a very good friend as he wanted this to be surprise gift for his wife, as wedding anniversary gift.
Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saint Justus of Volterra and Saint Margaret of Antioch is considered a major work of Mainardi’s from late in his career. Created in 1507 during the height of the Italian Renaissance, the 63.5- by 61-inch painting was commissioned to adorn the altar of a church. The altarpiece has significant provenance, having belonged to popular American novelist and Indianapolis native Booth Tarkington. It was donated by Mrs. Tarkington in honor of her late husband in 1951, and was displayed at the John Herron Museum of Art. Upon entry into the Indianapolis Museum of Art collections, the work was already in precarious condition and its appearance had changed drastically since 1507. At some time in its history, long before it entered the museum’s collection, the wood panel suffered serious insect infestation. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity in the church where the painting was originally displayed also contributed to its poor condition.
Various restorers over the centuries had made many attempts to reduce the effects of past damage, but some of their methods did not have a desirable outcome. The structure had deteriorated extensively due to an earlier elaborate cradle bracing system constructed for the painting. In 1961 its condition was declared "extremely hazardous," and the piece was finally deemed to be"unexhibitable" in 1965. Owing to its increasingly fragile condition and the difficulty of conserving it, the altarpiece was then held in IMA storage for more than 40 years.