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


c. 1491
Tempera on wood, 172 x 165 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

The Musée du Louvre in Paris owns a panel painting by Ghirlandaio which differs from others. Like one of the frescoes in the Tornabuoni Chapel, it depicts the Visitation. Ghirlandaio painted the work in 1491 for a private chapel the Tournabuoni owned in the church of Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi. Studies of the garments show how carefully Ghirlandaio prepared each individual figure for this unusual work. That is particularly true of the figure of Saint Mary Salome who is walking in from the right with her hands folded in prayer; wearing a classical flowing garment, she is reminiscent of figures by Filippino Lippi. On the opposite side Saint Mary Jacobi is adopting a most traditional pose, but unusually is looking out of the picture to the left. These two figures at the sides are cut off by the edge of the picture, and this brings a more animated note to the peaceful group of the two main figures. Particularly charming is the contrast between the youthful face of Mary and the old face of Elizabeth.