PIERO DI COSIMO
(b. 1462, Firenze, d. 1521, Firenze)
Immaculate Conception with Saints1510s
Panel, 184 x 178 cm
San Francesco, Fiesole
This painting appears to be the only signed and dated picture of the artist. The signature and date written on the base of panel ('Pier di Cosimo 1480') must both be addition, however, because its style points to the last years of his life, sometime in the 1510s. The design is unusual, predicated on the slanting block on which Francis and Jerome kneel, dominating thee lower middle of the panel. By virtue of the intrusion of this platform, which is to be understood as an extension of the real altar, the other four saints, Augustine, Bernard, Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure, appear as three-quarter length The upper part includes and unusually ancient and benign-looking God the Father selecting the Virgin with a rod to indicate the Immaculate Conception, while he courteously turns a tablet towards her. The figure of the young Virgin is paired with an extra, full-length angel, who appears more physically solid than does the Virgin.