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Giovanni da Milano, The Apocalyptic Christ (Son of Man): Central Pinnacle Panel

Key facts
Full title The Apocalyptic Christ (Son of Man): Central Pinnacle Panel
Artist Giovanni da Milano
Artist dates documented 1346 - 1369
Series Pinnacle Panels
Date made about 1365
Medium and support Egg tempera on wood
Dimensions 93.7 × 37.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1857
Inventory number NG579.6
Location Gallery F
Collection Main Collection
The Apocalyptic Christ (Son of Man): Central Pinnacle Panel
Giovanni da Milano

This panel once formed part of the uppermost tier of a large altarpiece. Christ is shown as the ‘Apocalyptic Christ’ – that is, how he appears in the Book of Revelation, the biblical text that describes the end of the world. There, he is described as the ‘Son of Man’ wearing a long robe with a golden girdle, with head and hair ‘white as white wool, white as snow’ (Revelation 1: 14).

He holds a blue orb with seven golden stars within it, probably intended to show that ‘in his right hand he held seven stars’. In his left hand he holds a large pair of keys – the ‘keys of death and Hades [hell]’ (Revelation 1: 18).

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Pinnacle Panels


The three panels belonged to an altarpiece that was possibly made for the church of San Salvatore al Vescovo, the Bishop of Florence’s church, located within the Palazzo Arcivescovile. They are pinnacle panels – those appearing at the top, crowning the altarpiece.

The central pinnacle shows the ‘Apocalyptic Christ’, the judge of humanity at the end of the world, according to the Book of Revelation (Revelation 1: 13–18). This would have been flanked by panels that show the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist, who turn inwards to look towards Christ. Both figures were traditionally seen as intercessors for humanity at this moment of judgement, making their presence here, surrounding Christ as judge, appropriate.