The Relic in the Panels of São Vicente de Fora

João Goyri-O'Neill, Artur Camisão-Soares, Cláudia Neves Marques


The Panels of São Vicente de Fora, a polyptych dated from 1470 to 1480, are a work composed of 6 panels, authored by Nuno Gonçalves, a painter of King Afonso V. This work reveals one of the most remarkable collective portraits of European painting, making this polyptych an inexhaustible source of readings and interpretations, fueling a secular controversy. The present work aims analyzing precise an iconographic anatomical image repainted in the 6th panel, or the panel of the Relic. This consists of a central image within a structure shown by a red figure with special reverence. The investigation conducted and justification was based on direct observation and comparative analysis of iconographic data collected in the Museum of Antique Art. The bone pieces were selected at the Museum of Anatomy, Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medical Sciences, New University of Lisbon, and the comparative analyses performed
by two observers, with further analysis of the images obtained in the National Museum of Ancient Art using specific software. After
watching these, it was concluded that this representation of a relic in the Panels of São Vicente is an iconic representation of an Occipital bone, fractured at its lower edge, being evident, almost complete, its vertical portion or scale.

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