A public art gallery in Hull has bought a masterpiece of European painting in one of the most important additions to Britain’s art heritage in years.
The Sienese artist Pietro Lorenzetti painted Christ Between Saint Paul and Saint Peter, around 1320. Dante had just written The Divine Comedy; it was a moment of bold innovation in European culture, when the gothic age of cathedrals was reaching its climax. Lorenzetti’s painting is a revolutionary artwork in which we can spy the birth of modern ways of seeing.
This gold-decorated wooden panel is full of things that are astonishing to see in a painting that is 700 years old. Saint Paul holds a sword whose fancy red and black scabbard is painted with eye-fooling realism: it is not a flat sketch of a sword, as might be expected in medieval