Coronation of the Virgin Altarpiece from San Domenico (c. 1434) by Fra Angelico

Coronation of the Virgin Altarpiece from San Domenico - Fra Angelico - 1434 - 1435

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Artwork Information

TitleCoronation of the Virgin Altarpiece from San Domenico
ArtistFra Angelico
Date1434 - 1435
MediumTempera on Panel
Dimensions213 x 211 cm
Art MovementEarly Renaissance
Current LocationLouvre, Paris, France

About Coronation of the Virgin Altarpiece from San Domenico

The artwork “Coronation of the Virgin Altarpiece from San Domenico” is a tempera on panel painting by the Early Renaissance artist Fra Angelico, executed between 1434 and 1435. Measuring 213 x 211 centimeters, this religious painting belongs to the “Coronation of the Virgin Altarpiece” series. The artwork is currently housed in the Louvre, Paris, France, where it is admired for its historical and artistic significance.

The artwork features a central scene of the Coronation of the Virgin, a popular subject in Christian art where the Virgin Mary is being crowned by Jesus Christ, an event believed to occur in heaven after her assumption. The composition is arranged in a pyramidal structure, with the figures of Jesus and Mary seated on an elaborate, high-backed throne at the pinnacle. The figures are surrounded by a host of angels, saints, and biblical figures, all meticulously rendered with graceful lines and sumptuous colors that are characteristic of Fra Angelico’s delicate style.

The occasion is grand, and the detailed renderings of the garments and the celestial hierarchy emphasize an atmosphere of divine celebration. The luminous gold background enhances the ethereal setting, where each figure carries individual importance and is portrayed with reverence.

Beneath the main scene, a predella shows a series of smaller narrative panels, depicting episodes from the lives of the saints and the Virgin Mary. This lower register grounds the heavenly coronation with earthly stories of piety and devotion, connecting the faithful on Earth with the holy scene above. The extensive use of gold leaf and the ornate patterns and textures in the clothing and throne hint at both the sanctity of the scene and the wealth and skill available in Italian art during the Renaissance. The altarpiece’s immaculate condition and vivid coloration further attest to the masterful techniques employed by Fra Angelico in the creation of this devotional masterpiece.

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