Historical Oriental Rugs & Carpets
in Medieval European Paintings
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San Zeno Polyptych (central panel)

Tempera on panel, 220 x 115 cm
San Zeno, Verona

The central section of the San Zeno Altarpiece depicts the Madonna holding her Child and surrounded by music-making angels, seated on a marble throne decorated with Roman-inspired reliefs. The naturalistic trompe l'oeil garlands, seemingly affixed to the top of the picture, create a rapport with the garlands held by the putti in the marble relief at the top of the throne. The borderline between the real world and the invented world here breaks down completely.

by MANTEGNA, Andrea
(b. 1431, Isola di Cartura, d. 1506, Mantova)

The Virgin Mary in Andrea Mantegna's San Zeno Altarpiece combines pseudo-Arabic halos and garment hems, with a Turkish Ushak (so called Holbein) carpet at her feet.