‘Madonna della Gattaiola’ in MontemeranoUnknown places & works
‘Madonna della Gattaiola’ in Montemerano
In the picturesque medieval village of Montemerano, in the municipality of Manciano, is the ancient Church of San Giorgio, built in the 14th century and enlarged in the Renaissance period with the addition of the transept and apse. The restoration work carried out between the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the new millennium, has brought to light the ancient splendour of the religious building which, to date, appears well preserved.
The church is known mainly because it is home to 'The Madonna and Child with Saints', a 15th century altarpiece by Sano Di Pietro. But to the right of the altar, there is another work, certainly less known, which hides a little mystery: we are talking about the 'Madonna della Gattaiola', a painting dating from the mid-15th century (attributed to an anonymous local artist known as Master of Montemerano), now preserved in a glass case with golden frames and representing the Annunciation.
The painting, most likely, was adapted to act as a door, as it can be assumed from the insert at the top that makes the rectangular work leaving no trace of the original cusp shape.
But let's talk about its oddity: on the bottom right section you will notice the presence of a circular hole made, it is believed, by the parish priest of the time as an opening for cats that had to keep away the mice from the sacristy.
Later the gate became furniture for the church, but the hole was maintained perhaps to remind visitors of the much more practical use that this work served for a long time.
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