(b. ca. 1400, Vicchio nell Mugello, d. 1455, Roma)

San Marco Altarpiece

Tempera on wood, 220 x 227 cm
Museo di San Marco, Florence

This is the main painting of the altarpiece, called San Marco Altarpiece. It represents the Virgin and Child Enthroned with Angels and Saints, it was executed for the main altar of the church belonging to the Convent of San Marco and dedicated to the two medical saints, Cosmas and Damian.

The altarpiece, one of the most grandiose of the Quattrocento altars, was executed after the decision of Cosimo de' Medici in 1438 to transfer to Cortona the triptych which served as main altar of the convent church. It depicts, in the front, the kneeling Sts Cosmas and Damian, then in the second row, from the left: Sts Lawrence, John the Evangelist, Mark, Dominic, Francis and Peter the Martyr. It is assumed that the figure of St Cosmas is the likeness of Cosimo de' Medici. In the lower center a Crucifixion with golden background can be seen.