Panel paintings: The Baroncelli Polyptych
by GIOTTO

Baroncelli Polyptych certainly represents the peak of Giotto's late period panel paintings, and is the only work to still be found in its original place. The name derives from the Baroncelli family, who commissioned the altarpiece in 1327 for the chapel donated by them, and dedicated to the Madonna of the Annunciation in the Franciscan church of Santa Croce in Florence. The chapel was decorated between 1328 and 1335 by Taddeo Gaddi, a pupil of Giotto's. The altarpiece — somewhat mutilated and with a 15th century frame - still adorns this chapel today. When the frame was redesigned, parts of the old frame were used to strengthen its rear side. A reconstruction has shown that the five panels were originally divided by broad, silver-plated pilasters, that predella and altar panels therefore fitted together exactly.

The five panels are composed as one continuous pictorial space. We are looking at a heaven whose perspective is not distinct and whose width is opened out by a choir of heavenly figures on the side panels that seem to go on forever. The rows of figures throng together to form a radiant, brightly-colored assembly, observing the solemn occasion of the Virgin being crowned Queen of Heaven by her son and providing musical accompaniment. The central panel, where the main figures are portrayed on a slightly larger scale, succeeds in developing space a little more clearly.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 2 minutes):
Michael Praetorius: Motet


Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
Baroncelli Polyptych
c. 1334
Tempera on wood, 185 x 323 cm
Baroncelli Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence

1195*655
True Color
199 Kb



Baroncelli Polyptych: Coronation of the Virgin
c. 1334
Tempera on wood
Baroncelli Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence

800*1088
True Color
172 Kb



Baroncelli Polyptych (detail)
c. 1334
Tempera on wood
Baroncelli Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence

731*624
True Color
123 Kb



Baroncelli Polyptych (detail)
c. 1334
Tempera on wood
Baroncelli Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence

867*1001
True Color
156 Kb



Baroncelli Polyptych (detail)
c. 1334
Tempera on wood
Baroncelli Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence

1172*380
True Color
98 Kb




Summary of paintings by Giotto
Frescoes in San Francesco, Assisi
Upper Church: Legend of St Francis | New Testament scenes | Lower Church
Frescoes in Arena Chapel, Padua
Life of Joachim | Life of Virgin | Life of Christ | Angels | Heads
Last Judgment | Heads
Vault frescoes | Virtues and Vices | Decorative elements
Frescoes in Santa Croce, Florence
Frescoes in Peruzzi Chapel | Frescoes in Bardi Chapel
Panel paintings
Crucifix | Maestŕ and others | Polyptych panels | Stefaneschi Altarpiece | Baroncelli Polyptych
Miscellaneous works
Navicella mosaic | Campanile of the Florence Cathedral