GOZZOLI, Benozzo
(b. ca. 1420, Firenze, d. 1497, Pistoia)

Madonna and Child with Sts John the Baptist, Peter, Jerome, and Paul

Tempera on panel, 122 x 212 cm
Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria, Perugia

The panel painting, complete with side pillars and predella, was commissioned by the bishop of Recanati, Benedetto Guidalotti, who came from Perugia, for the Chapel of St Jerome in Perugia. The Sacra Conversazione combined old and new means of expression: the saints, arranged as mirror images with the Madonna and Christ Child at their centre, are arranged in front of a Gothic-style embossed gold background.

The altarpiece maintains close ties with the Gothic tradition in the stately splendour of the gold background, but the figures bathed in strong light, set firmly in space by virtue of their forceful drapery, are contemporary in style, with the intriguing result that we can now see to be typical of Benozzo's work in this period.