(b. ca. 1415, Murano, d. 1476/84, Venezia)


Tempera on panel, 339 x 200 cm (central), 339 x 138 cm (each side)
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

In this grandiose triptych Antonio Vivarini, helped by his brother-in-law Giovanni d'Alemagna (active 1441-1450), achieved a highpoint of balance between the International Gothic tradition now in decline, and the rising Renaissance. A natural light lends tenderness to the holy figures. The Virgin, however, sits rigid like a Byzantine empress on a Gothic throne, surrounded by Masolinoesque angels who are holding the poles of the high canopy almost as if it were a game. The saints Gregory and Jerome on the left and Ambrose and Augustine on the right, stand immobile in their heavy ecclesiastical garments shining with gold and colour. The holy scene appears constrained by the marble walls with their Gothic fretwork, set in a perspective as improbable as it is ostentatious. The sumptuous static scene is a final dazzling reminder of a fairy-tale world.