Giovan Angelo del Maino - inv. 3274
The scene is set inside a temple and is based on the apocryphal Gospels. Joseph, though already elderly, was chosen as Mary’s husband by a divine sign, the miraculous flowering of his staff. The high priest, wearing a tall mitre, joins the bride and groom in marriage. Behind Joseph the young suitors to the hand of Mary are shown despairing at the failure of their staves to flower. The work was part of a wooden altarpiece, perhaps that of the Shrine of the Madonna at Tirano in Valtellina, together with other high reliefs and free-standing sculptures. The work is the masterpiece of Giovan Angelo del Maino, the most refined of the Lombard Renaissance sculptors in wood, probably in this case working in collaboration with his brother Tiburzio. The relief itself is notable not only for the quality of the carving but also for the splendid polychrome and gilded decoration.