(b. 1445, Firenze, d. 1510, Firenze)
The Virgin and Child with Four Angels and Six Saints (Pala di San Barnaba)c. 1488
Tempera on panel, 268 x 280 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
The architecture, both concise and majestic, seems to point towards the art of the sixteenth century, and it is certainly the best example of Botticelli's mastery in this field. At the sides of the curtain, very finely drawn in little tondos, are the two figures of the Annunciation, the Virgin and the Angel. The angels on either side of the tall throne carry the crown of thorns and the nails of the cross, symbols which refer to the passion of Christ. The same type of features is used for the delicate figure of the Virgin, St John the Baptist and the young warrior Michael, without doubt the most beautiful part of the painting.
It must be pointed out that, on the steps of the throne, there is for the first time in history of painting an inscription in Italian. The line comes from Dante's Divine Comedy. This is the first evidence of Botticelli's interest in Dante's poetry.