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


Tempera on wood, 38 x 46 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

This panel was part of the altarpiece of the main altar in the monastery church of San Marco, Florence, and was originally in the middle of its predella.

The centre predella panel of the San Marco altarpiece is not overtly connected to the scenes on either side of it, which show the life of Sts Cosmas and Damian, although it too is lit from the right. Instead it relates directly to the crucifixion at the base of the altarpiece which, when the predella was in situ, was immediately above it. Christ's body is supported by Nicodemus, and his hands are held and kissed by the stooping Virgin and St John. Christ has a weightless air about him, so that the three other figures appear to have to do little to support him. The winding cloth lies stretched out in a receding rectangle creating the foreground space, its folds and colour echoing the white rock. Behind lies the dark rectangular void of the tomb. The sparsity and simplicity of the composition, the firmly closed-off space and the extensive use of white in this panel, are all also found in Angelico's frescoes at San Marco.

The figures here, arranged parallel with each other, with the central perspective of the shroud leading to the tomb, shows a very different idea of spatial organization from that in Rogier van der Weyden's panel of the same subject.