Marco Palmezzano, Madonna with Child on throne between St. Michael the Archangel and St. James the Younger, in the lunette The Eternal Father and cherubs

Marco Palmezzano,
Madonna with Child on throne between St. Michael the Archangel and St. James the Younger, in the lunette The Eternal Father and cherubs

Marco Palmezzano, Madonna with Child on throne between St. Michael the Archangel and St. James the Younger, in the lunette The Eternal Father and cherubs
Commissioned in 1497, wood, 179X75 cm; 92×182.7 cm (lunette), Inv. n. 112 and 113

Commissioning the painting on the 12th June 1497, the patrons, priors of the brotherhood known as the Confraternita di San Michelino, requested a work that would be judged by art experts as being worthier and more beautiful than any other painting in existence in Florence. The result – which immediately pleased the patrons when they completed payment three years after making their request – was, as Giordano Viroli, «one of the ultimate achievements of Palmezzano’s early works» where the influence of the master Melozzo is combined with the coherence of his experiences of the Venetian school.

Of particular note are the two saints to the sides, with a St. Michael Archangel dressed, according to Carlo Grigioni, «more than in just armour, but in heroic beauty» and St. James the Younger, a mild, dignified, and intent figure.

The background landscape is also very important to this work, with innovative symbolic scenes and detailed naturalistic descriptions. The setting is enclosed in an architectural complex capable of maintaining equilibrium, lending a full and mature regality to the sacred figures.

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