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

Bosco ai Frati Altarpiece

c. 1450
Tempera and gold on panel, 174 x 173 cm, 28 x 174 cm (predella)
Museo di San Marco, Florence

This altarpiece was painted by Angelico after his return from Rome for the Franciscan convent of Bosco ai Frati in Mugello. It was probably commissioned by Cosimo de' Medici who started the renovation of the convent in 1438. The altarpiece represents the Virgin and Child enthroned with two angels, and Sts Anthony of Padua, Louis of Toulouse and Francis (on the left), as well as Sts Cosmas, Damian and Peter Martyr (on the right).

The altarpiece shows further developments of the formula that underlies his earlier sacra conversazione. The architecture is richer and more plastic, so that its articulation of the picture space is partly camouflaged. The throne has been widened and heightened, now looking like the apse of a small church, bringing greater emphasis to the Virgin and Child at the expense of the saints. The wall is enlivened by a series of recessions and projections in the form of niches and half ionic columns. Although the grass and flowers have been excluded from the foreground, the natural world reasserts itself, albeit in a symmetrical composition, behind the wall.

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