On Thursday 29th June, 6pm (BST) The National Gallery will be hosting a Facebook Live exhibition tour of Giovanni da Rimini: A 14th-Century Masterpiece Unveiled. The tour will provide an exclusive glimpse of the reunion of “Scenes from the Lives of the Virgin and other Saints” (procured by The National Gallery in 2015) and “Scenes from the Life of Christ” (Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Rome), two halves of a diptych by Giovanni da Rimini.
Though often necessary for conservation purposes, it has become common practice for medieval art to be alienated from its original context. Separating panels of diptychs or triptychs is just one example of a larger anachronistic phenomenon.
Believed to have been commissioned by Augustinian hermits, the piece would have been designed for reverent contemplation, and the two panel’s cohabitation undoubtedly affected the art’s meaning for the devotee. The opportunity to view Giovanni da Rimini’s diptych how it was originally conceived, and how medieval viewers would have experienced the art, is certainly an opportunity not to be missed. It will be the first time the UK has witnessed a reunion of the two pieces, alongside related Italian Trecento and fourteenth-century pieces from the National Gallery’s collection.
The live broadcast can be found on the National Gallery’s Facebook page, but if you are busy at 6pm, there will be a version available to watch afterwards. This a great opportunity for those outside of London to see inside a National Gallery exhibition without the need to travel. Nevertheless, admission is free so, if you are local, be sure to check out Room 1 before the 8th of October 2017.