GIOTTO di Bondone
(b. 1267, Vespignano, d. 1337, Firenze)

Baroncelli Polyptych

c. 1334
Tempera on wood, 185 x 323 cm
Baroncelli Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence

The original frame of this five-part altarpiece no longer survives. Beneath the central panel the altar is described as OPUS MAGISTRI JOCTI (Work of the Master Giotto). Many angels and saints have come together in a radiant assembly. They all want to be part of the coronation of the Mother of God by her son. In the rows at the front kneeling angels make music, in those at the back the looks and gestures of those present are oriented towards the central event.

Both the highly packed hosts of angels praising the Virgin and the huge figures in the central panel indicate that considerable assistance was needed for this work. Giotto no longer worked with a few individual assistants, but now had a well-organized studio. We are beginning to identify a number of Giotto's own relations and well-known artists.