GENTILE DA FABRIANO
(b. ca. 1370, Fabriano Marche, d. 1427, Roma)
Virgin and Child with Sts Nicholas and Cathrinec. 1405
Tempera on panel
Staatliche Museen, Berlin
This is an important example of Gentile's early work. In particular it reveals the Sienese and Lombard elements in his training. The painting has all the beautiful characteristics of late International Gothic art: the use of precious materials on a splendid gold background, attention to natural details (the flowering grass), sinuous lines, graceful expressions and gestures. St Nicholas was the patron saint of the person who commissioned the work. He is seen kneeling in prayer and the Child lifts his hand in blessing in his direction. A charming Gothic detail is the musical angels who perch like birds in the leaves of the trees.