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

The Coronation of the Virgin

Tempera on wood, 112 x 114 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Fra Angelico dedicated several of his works to the scene of Mary's coronation (Louvre, Paris; Museo di San Marco, Florence, Uffizi, Florence). In these pictures the ceremoniousness of the event is lessened by the gentle charm of the details.

This painting is from the church of Sant'Egidio of Ospedale di Santa Maria Nuova in Florence. Its approach is special in that it presents the scene in the sky, floating on clouds, thus placing Jesus and Mary and their surrounding entourage in an interesting perspective. Spatial relations are illustrated by the use of size differences, the virtuoso rendering of light-rays, and colour perspective.

The angelic choir greets the Queen of Heavens with song and dance. In the right foreground, with his back to the viewer, an angel dressed in blue plays the portative organ; his companion to the left a stringed instrument. Above, on both sides of the main group, the trumpets are raised high above the heads. Among the other instruments we can recognize a beautiful lute on the left, and a small oval-shaped violin (or mandola) on the right. The inner ring is composed of six tall, dancing angels; their flowing robes and the position of their hands indicate the direction of their movement.