The Madonna Enthroned also known as Maestà or sedes sapientiae is an iconography that appeared between the mid-13th century and the 14th century. In the representation of the Maestà (Majesty), Mary is depicted in the centre, holding the baby Jesus in her arms and seated on a very rich throne. She may be surrounded by saints or angels.
The most famous Madonna Enthroned pieces are those of Giotto, Cimabue and Duccio di Buoninsegna. In contrast to this iconography, there was the one preferred by the Mendicant orders, the Madonna of Humility, which depicted Mary sitting on a cushion or right on the humble ground. An example is the work of Gentile da Fabriano.
The Monreale Madonna Enthroned is depicted wrapped in a blue mantle, seated on a throne with a high back, while holding the baby Jesus. On the sides, the Greek inscription panacrontas, meaning “all immaculate”, can be read. At the corners of the throne, archangels Michael and Gabriel are featured.