Madonna of Loreto, predella tablets – Perugia

The three tablets, depicting three events of the Life of Christ, that is to say the Annunciation to the Virgin by the Archangel Gabriel, the Nativity in the presence of the adoring shepherds and the Baptism by Saint John the Baptist in the waters of the Jordan River, were conceived as the predella of the Madonna di Loreto, an altarpiece originally placed in the destroyed church of Santa Maria dei Servi in Colle Landone (Perugia).
In 1507, Matteo Schiavone, a carpenter of Perugia, in his testamentary dispositions required the construction of a chapel, in the aforementioned church of Santa Maria dei Servi, and, furthermore, the realization of an altarpiece dedicated to the Madonna of Loreto between Saints Francis and Jerome. Perugino was commissioned with the work the very same year and, in the allogagion contract, a predella is mentioned with the same subjects of the three surviving tables.
The central altarpiece, depicting the Madonna of Loreto as requested by Schiavone, was moved to the altar of San Francesco in Santa Maria Nuova after the demolition of the church, while the other parts of the altarpiece were dispersed: probably, on this very occasion the three scenes were separated.
The three panels are preserved at the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria.