The Quaratesi Madonna

1425, Gentile da Fabriano

On loan from Her Majesty the Queen, © Her Majesty The Queen
This panel formed the centre of an altarpiece commissioned by a member of the Quaratesi family for the high altar of San Niccoló Oltrarno, Florence. It was flanked by Saints Mary Magdalene, Nicholas of Bari, John the Baptist and George; the predella showed scenes from the Life of Saint Nicholas.

The Child holds what seems to be a daisy. The cloth of honour behind the Virgin is silver (now tarnished) glazed with red. The highly decorative nature of the variously patterned luxury textiles, the elaborately tooled gold, and the delicate nature of the figures contrast strongly with the same subject painted by Masaccio a year later. The gable with God the Father is original but within a modern frame.

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