(b. 1431, Isola di Carturo, d. 1506, Mantova)

San Zeno Polyptych

Tempera on panel, 480 x 450 cm
San Zeno, Verona

The central part represents the Madonna and Child Enthroned (212 x 125 cm), the left part shows Saints Peter and Paul, Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Zeno, while the right part Saints Benedict, Lawrence, Gregory and Saint John the Baptist (235 x 135 cm each). The predella paintings are copies, the originals are in the Musée du Louvre and in the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Tours.

Despite the framing elements that divide them, the three main panels of the San Zeno Altarpiece form an unified picture space. The central section depicts the Madonna holding her Child and surrounded by music-making angels, seated on a marble throne decorated with Roman-inspired reliefs. The naturalistic trompe l'oeil garlands, seemingly affixed to the top of the picture, create a rapport with the garlands held by the putti in the marble relief at the top of the throne. The borderline between the real world and the invented world here breaks down completely.