(b. 1394, Siena, d. 1450, Siena)
St Thomas Inspired by the Dove of the Holy Ghost1423
Tempera on wood, 23,6 x 39 cm
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest
The picture shows one of the predella paintings of the Altar of the Eucharist by Sassetta.
The life of St Thomas Aquinas was not full of spectacular miracles, and so the painter of this panel had to illustrate a subject that was not thankful from an artistic point of view. He showed the Saint deeply absorbed in prayer. God the Father, appearing in a circle of angels, send the Holy Ghost to him, in the shape of a dove. The Saint is kneeling almost gracefully, though completetly without movement, and around him there is the view of a spacious church interior, and the library and courtyard of a monastery. The sequence of spatial layers is used in such a way as to add to the animation of the composition.