(b. 1449, Firenze, d. 1494, Firenze)

Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple

Fresco, width 450 cm
Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence

On the second level of the left wall, the Presentation of the Virgin and the Marriage of Mary stand side by side.

With its many separate elements and its complex architecture, the composition of the Presentation of the Virgin is somewhat confused. In the centre of the painting, Mary as a girl is hurrying up the steps of the Temple carrying a book, and at the top the venerable high priest is waiting to welcome her with open arms. Her elderly parents have accompanied her to the bottom of the steps. Many old and young witnesses are present. Here too, in the old bearded men and the delicate-featured youths, Ghirlandaio and his assistants undoubtedly portrayed the Florentine nobility who had their houses in that district.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 22 minutes):
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata, BWV 82