They generally were built where property had been left by the donors to foreign orders to pray for their souls.
It was therefore to Byzantium that Italy turned for metal-workers, and especially for goldsmiths, when, in the 6th to the 8th centuries, the basilica of St Peter's in Rome was enriched with masses of gold and silver for decorations and fittings, the gifts of many donors from Belisarius to Leo III., the mere catalogue of which reads like a tale from the Arabian Nights.
The period is closed, so far as paintings are concerned, by two examples of far higher value than those above named, that is to say the Paumgartner altarpiece at Munich, with its romantically attractive composition of the Nativity with angels and donors in the central panel, and the fine armed figures of St George and St Eustace (lately freed from the over-paintings which disfigured them) on the wings; and the happily conceived and harmoniously finished "Adoration of the Magi" in the Uffizi at Florence.
This altarpiece was afterwards replaced at Frankfort (all except the protraits of the donors, which remained behind) by a copy, while the original was transported to Munich, where it perished by fire in 1674.
Thedonorsgraciously gave a gift to the university's scholarship fund.