STARNINA, Gherardo di Jacopo
(b. ca. 1354, Firenze, d. 1409/13, Firenze)


c. 1410
Tempera on wood, 80 x 216 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

The painting was attributed for long time to various artists, among them to Fra Angelico. Sometimes it is listed as an early work by Fra Angelico. Finally, it was recognised as a work by Gherardo Starnina.

The content of the Thebaid shows that it was executed on the commission of one of the Mendicant Orders. The work depicts the life of a certain saint and the desert life of a large number of hermits, an iconographical theme whose origins are to be found in Pisan art. The painting is occupied entirely by numerous small scenes and by the activities of small figures. The vast landscape is dotted with chapels and tiny dwellings. The foreground is occupied by the sea, with sailing vessels and sea monsters, while the background is composed of the usual stepped rocks, common in all painting of the fourteenth century, which divide the painting up into many compartments.

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