(b. 1445/46, Venezia, d. 1503/5, Venezia)
Altarpiece of St Ambrose1503
Oil on panel, 500 x 250 cm
Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice
This great panel is the altar of the Chapel of the Milanese. Vivarini had not time to finish it before his death and the work was concluded by Marco Basaiti.
The altarpiece presents the triumph of St Ambrose, patron saint of Milan, carrying a scourge in his right hand and a staff in his left. The shields at his back support the sword and the cross. On his right stand St John the Baptist, St Sebastian and St Louis IX, and on his left St Gregory the Great, St Augustine and St Jerome. Behind the two groups of saints are two anonymous heads that may be the priors of the brotherhood. At the foot of the throne two angels are playing the lute and the mandola. These are by Basaiti, as is St Sebastian.
The damaged inscription at the foot of the throne was transcribed as: QUOD VIVARINI TUA FATALI SORTE NEQUISTI MARCUS BASITUS NOBILE PROMPSIT OPUS.