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

Coronation of the Virgin

Tempera on panel, 213 x 211 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

This altarpiece, exhibited now in the Musée du Louvre together with its seven predella pictures, was executed for the church San Domenico in Fiesole, and it is one of the most famous of Fra Angelico's works. It is a good example of the painter's art of tempera painting with fresh colours that have not changed. On the predella the story of San Domenico is depicted.

In this altarpiece Fra Angelico departs markedly from his usual methods of space projection, but this can be explained by the extreme difficulty of integrating so complex a composition as a traditional Coronation, into the type of space he had recently employed. The whole, although still a heavenly scene, is set on terra firma. The sky is a realistic blue and not gold. The very low view-point enables the assembled saints and angels to be placed in a series of tiers without obscuring one another. The figures in the foreground kneel so as not to attract undue emphasis. Mary Magdalen holds out her jar of oil, marking the central axis.

Recently a date of 1450, which is considered compatible with the internal dating evidence of this altarpiece, is suggested.