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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
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 two figures on either side of St. Vincent of Saragossa are wearing brigandines, as shown by the pattern of rivets covering the rich fabric. The brigandines open at the front and are secured together by laces and points. The figure to the left is also wearing mail at the lower waist and shoulders as well as plate armor on his thighs, knees, and elbows. The altarpiece of which this is a detail was painted by Nuno Goncalves or Gonzalvez ca. 1495 and is now in the National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon, Portugal.
Source: p.280, Medieval Weapons: An Illustrated History of Their Impact by Kelly DeVries & Robert D. Smith (2007)

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