ANGELICO, Fra
(b. ca. 1400, Vicchio nell Mugello, d. 1455, Roma)

Linaioli Tabernacle (shutters open)

c. 1433
Tempera on panel, 260 x 330 cm
Museo di San Marco, Florence

The doors of the triptych open to reveal the Virgin and Child Enthroned with St John the Baptist and St Mark. The two saints have the same three-dimensional qualities as their companions on the outside of the triptych. St John the Baptist is shown with his right arm curved round and up across his chest and left shoulder, and the top of his cross pushed back away from the viewer. The right foot is to the fore. The extended hand of St Mark on the Virgin's right draws the eye into the space occupied by the figure.

The central panel of The Virgin and Child differs from its predecessors in Angelico's oeuvre in the absence of a circle of space-defining angels. Greater realism is achieved by translating part of the traditional gold background into elaborate golden curtains which frame the Virgin, the outline thus created echoing a pointed arch. She has the same solidity and three-dimensional qualities as the saints in the work. The Child is clothed and stands upright holding His arms out in blessing. He lacks the overtly puerile qualities of many infant Christ's of the Renaissance and as a result appears medieval or Byzantine.




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