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

Marriage of Mary

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

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

In the Marriage of Mary Ghirlandaio shows "... the youths angrily breaking their rods, which did not flower like that of Joseph. This scene contains many figures and a good building" (Vasari).

In contrast with the Presentation of the Virgin, the Marriage of Mary has an entirely symmetrical structure, which is created by an architectural setting that consists of a square space with three barrel vaults along each side. Though the architectural elements are comprehensibly arranged in the picture, the events themselves are not fully integrated with them. It seems as if the architecture and figures were created independently of each other. Looking as though it has been slotted in from above, the architecture does not really look inhabited by the figures. The most remarkable figures are themselves outside the main group, at the edges of the pictorial field; it is thought that the women's figures on the left are most likely to be Ghirlandaio's own work.