GHERARDUCCI, Don Silvestro dei
(b. 1339, Firenze, d. 1399, Firenze)

Assumption of the Virgin

c. 1365
Tempera on wood, 41 x 27 cm
Pinacoteca, Vatican

Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci was a monk of the Camaldolese monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli. He was a widely famed painter and miniaturist whose work was particularly favoured by Lorenzo de Medici (1449-1492), the Florentine statesman and patron of arts and letters known as Lorenzo the Magnificent. With Don Lorenzo Monaco and Don Simone Camaldolese, Gherarducci made up the most important late medieval school of Florentine painters, and enriched Florentine art with a new decorative colour harmony. Although Don Silvestro is known to have painted a number of altarpieces and devotional panels, he is famed for his work as a manuscript illuminator.

In this panel painting the Madonna, dressed all in white, is sitting on a throne within a mandorla that is supported by six angels, three at each side, as it is being carried up to heaven. The angels are depicted in the typical mid fourteenth-century style: small and ephemeral creatures with slim bodies covered by long dresses and, apparently, no legs. Their fine and youthful features are surrounded by halos; their expressions show a participating presence that expects no response.

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