Altered Angels: Two Panels from the Immaculate Conception Altarpiece once in San Francesco Grande, Milan

Rachel Billinge, Luke Syson and Marika Spring
Technical Bulletin Volume 32, 2011

Abstract

It has never been doubted that the National Gallery’s two panels depicting musician angels, An Angel in Green with a Vielle and An Angel in Red with a Lute, were part of the carved altarpiece created for the chapel of the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception abutting the church of San Francesco Grande in Milan, for which Leonardo da Vinci was commissioned to work on the gilding and painting in partnership with the brothers Ambrogio and Evangelista de Predis.

Yet the story of this commission and the subsequent history of the altarpiece (including the angels’ place in it) are extremely complicated. Both panels have undergone significant alterations in the five centuries since they were painted. The results of technical examinations are described in detail, and ideas about what the panels might have looked like before they were overpainted and cut down are also presented.

Keywords 

Leonardo da Vinci, Ambrogio de Predis, Evangelista de Predis, Francesco Galli, Francesco Napoletano, painting technique, pigments, oil, poplar, x-radiography, infrared reflectography, microscopy, cross-sections, SEM-EDX, altarpiece, Milan

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Altered Angels: Two Panels from the Immaculate Conception Altarpiece once in San Francesco Grande, Milan, Rachel Billinge, Luke Syson and Marika Spring (PDF 2.4MB)

 


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To cite this article we suggest using

Billinge, R., Syson, L., Spring, M. 'Altered Angels: Two Panels from the Immaculate Conception Altarpiece once in San Francesco Grande, Milan'. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol 32, pp 57–77.
http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/technical-bulletin/billinge_syson_spring2011


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