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Benozzo Gozzoli, 'The Virgin and Child Enthroned among Angels and Saints', 1461-2

Key facts
Full title The Virgin and Child Enthroned among Angels and Saints
Artist Benozzo Gozzoli
Artist dates 1420/2(?) - 1497
Date made 1461-2
Medium and support Tempera on wood
Dimensions 161.9 × 170.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1855
Inventory number NG283
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Virgin and Child Enthroned among Angels and Saints
Benozzo Gozzoli

This altarpiece was made for the meeting room of the Florentine youth confraternity of the Purification of the Virgin and of Saint Zenobius, which was in the Dominican convent at San Marco.

Saint Zenobius and Saint John the Baptist – the patron saints of Florence – are shown on the Virgin’s right-hand side. Zenobius was the city’s first bishop, and wears the robes and mitre (hat) of that position. Behind him, Saint John points to the infant Christ. Saint Jerome in blue and Saint Francis, well known for their piety and humble lifestyles, kneel at the front. Standing on the Virgin’s left-hand side are Saint Peter, Christ’s disciple, and Saint Dominic, the founder of the Dominican Order.

The Virgin and Christ Child are surrounded by angels holding lilies, and a crop of the flower grows in the ground at the Virgin’s feet. The lily represented purity and was no doubt intended to reflect the feast of the Purification of the Virgin.

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