(b. 1397, Firenze, d. 1478, Pisa)

Death of Mary

Tempera and gold on wood, 22 x 67 cm
Christian Museum, Esztergom

This panel originally belonged to the predella of an altarpiece in the Oratorio della Madonna della Querce, Florence. It is a schematic late work by the artist. The signed and dated central panel of the altarpiece shows the Assumption of the Virgin (today Museo di Sant'Apollonia, Florence). The predella of the now dismembered altarpiece originally showed the three preceding scenes of the Virgin's life: in the first picture, an angel announced to Mary her approaching death (lost); next came this scene showing the Virgin's death; the third scene depicted the funeral of the Virgin (today Erzbischöfliches Diözesanmuseum, Cologne).

The representation of the death of Virgin is based on apocryphal sources and spread in Italy under the influence of Byzantine art. The Virgin lies in the centre in front of a row of candle-holding apostles and angels. Christ appears in the centre to take his mother's soul shown in the form of a child. The characters fill the entire, narrow pictorial field, and are shown with little variation. The painter's palette is limited to a few simple colours – red, green and yellow.

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