Big gestures for the Girdle

Bernardo Daddi altarpiece panels reunited

Editorial Staff
September 6, 2017 - 14:58

The Holy Girdle, said to have belonged to the Virgin Mary, has long been the symbol of Prato, becoming a true center of the city’s characteristic devotion to Mary. Locked in a box year-round, the relic is displayed to the public on few occasions, the biggest event taking place on September 8, in honour of the Virgin’s birthday.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the annual display of the Girdle (September 8 at 10pm, Piazza Duomo), Palazzo Pretorio is hosting “Bound by a Girdle – Our Lady of the Assumption by Bernardo Daddi and the Identity of a City”, running from September 8 to January 14, 2018. Thanks to loans from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Vatican Museums, the exhibition brings together all the panels of Daddi’s monumental altarpiece, commissioned in 1337-38, and narrates the story of how the painting was divided long ago.

Additional late-Medieval works will be on display around Daddi’s piece, all connected to the theme of the Virgin Mary and the Cintola and their role in making Prato known worldwide for its reverence toward the mother of Jesus. Throughout the exhibition, the chapel of the Girdle in the nearby Cathedral will be open for visits. The space, normally closed off to visitors, is richly decorated with late-14th-century frescoes by Agnolo Gaddi depicting the story of the Girdle.

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