Altarpiece of St Martin, St Ursula and St Anthony

Gender stereotypes

In medieval Valencia, it was common for financially well-off families with social status to have funerary chapels, for which they commissioned altarpieces and other works of art. These were intended not only to honour and perform ceremonies in memory of their ancestors, but also so that their descendants would acquire noble rank.

The altarpieces were dedicated to the namesake of the chapel, who was usually the patron saint of the person commissioning the work, having been born on their name day (feast day of the saint). In this case, it is dedicated to St Martin and St Ursula, who according to legend, was martyred accompanied by eleven thousand virgins. The popularity of legends about virgin martyrs gives an indication of the feminine ideals of the time.