Gold ground panel — Auction price
Paolo Veneziano was a 14th-century painter from Venice, the "founder of the Venetian School" of painting, probably active between about 1321 and 1362.
He led the development in Venice of the elaborately-framed polyptych or "composite altarpiece" form, which became popular all over Italy during the 13th century, partly in response to liturgical changes (only reversed in the 20th century) which placed the priest celebrating mass on the same side of the altar as the congregation, so with his back to them for much of the time. This encouraged the creation of altarpieces behind and above the altar, as a visual devotional focus. He is the oldest Venetian painter whose name is known, and the earliest to paint the new subject of the Coronation of the Virgin.
Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia was an Italian painter, working primarily in Siena, becoming a prolific painter and illustrator of manuscripts, including Dante's texts. He was one of the most important painters of the 15th century Sienese School. His early works show the influence of earlier Sienese masters, but his later style was more individual, characterized by cold, harsh colours and elongated forms. His style also took on the influence of International Gothic artists such as Gentile da Fabriano. Many of his works have an unusual dreamlike atmosphere, such as the surrealistic Miracle of St. Nicholas of Tolentino painted about 1455 and now housed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, while his last works, particularly Last Judgment, Heaven, and Hell from about 1465 and Assumption painted in 1475, both at Pinacoteca Nazionale (Siena), are grotesque treatments of their lofty subjects. Giovanni's reputation declined after his death but was revived in the 20th century.