(b. 1445, Firenze, d. 1510, Firenze)
Holy Trinity (Pala della Convertite)1491-93
Tempera on panel, 215 x192 cm
Courtauld Gallery, London
The altarpiece shows the Holy Trinity with Mary Magdalene, St John the Baptist and Tobias and the Angel
The Holy Trinity appears as a vision between the penitent saints Magdalene and John in a bleak desert landscape. The Baptist is inviting the observer to worship the Trinity, and Mary Magdalene is turning to face it full of emotion. The exhausted figure of the penitent, a late work of Donatello's, had a decisive influence on Botticelli's Magdalene.
The penitent sinner was the patron saint of the nuns' monastery of the Magdalenes, and this pala or altarpiece was ordered for their church. The figures of Tobias and the angel are very small compared to the others. They might be a reference to the donors of the altar, the guild of doctors and apothecaries: archangel Raphael was their patron saint.