(active 1343-1377, Firenze)

The Church as the Path to Salvation (east wall)

Fresco, width of wall 9,6 m
Cappellone degli Spagnoli, Santa Maria Novella, Florence

In the foreground, in front of the side wall of the Cathedral of Florence, we can see the hierarchic order of the medieval society: the Pope, at his left the Emperor and King, a prince, at his right the Dominican general and a bishop. Before them are the friars at the left and laymen at the right; then noblemen and knights, merchant, scholar, finally women and the lower ranks of the society. The basilica in the background is the symbol of the Church. On the right side of the picture St Dominic is preaching, St Thomas Aquino debating the heretics, Martyr St. Peter signalling the dogs (symbolizing the Dominican friars, "Domini canes") to tear the heretics to pieces. Above these scenes there is the happy world of music and dance.

This rather rigid composition depicts a carefully constructed theological program where the ratio of the figures is determined by their theological significance.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.