(b. 1423, Castagno, d. 1457, Firenze)

Madonna and Child with Saints

c. 1445
Detached fresco, 290 x 212 cm
Contini Bonacossi Collection, Florence

The painting depicts Madonna and Child enthroned with Sts Jerome and John the Baptist, two angels, and two children from the Pazzi family.

The painting that Andrea frescoed in the chapel in the Castle of Trebbio (Pontassieve), belonging to the Pazzi family, is influenced by Domenico Veneziano's peaceful and luminous painting. Despite the strong naturalism of the two saints on either side of the Madonna, the scene is characterized by a gentleness of forms, a delicacy of colour harmonies, and a majestic composition that Andrea had most probably borrowed from Veneziano's Carnesecchi Tabernacle and his frescoes in Sant'Egidio.

The polychrome marble tiles on the floor, the carpet covering the steps, and the glimpse of the two angels in flight show the expertise achieved by Andrea del Castagno in terms of perspective, while the statuary quality of the figures reflects the artist's attention to the sculptural work of Donatello. The ornamental motifs on the fabrics and floors almost dominate the figures and add a sumptuous richness to the composition, in line with its private destination.