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God the Father
Italian, Florentine
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God the Father makes a blessing gesture with one hand and holds an orb, representing the earth, in the other. The small size and round shape tell us that this panel probably once decorated part of the frame of an altarpiece.

Whoever painted this picture was interested in making sure that the figure looked fully three-dimensional: God seems to be grasping the orb firmly from beneath. They’ve also taken the viewer’s position – standing below the image – into account, as we see the underside of God’s hand.

It was once thought to be by the Florentine painter Masaccio, part of his altarpiece for Santa Maria del Carmine, Pisa (the central panel of which is now in the National Gallery’s collection). It’s not, but some elements of it – the interest in the solidity of the figure and thoughtfulness about viewpoints – suggest that it was made in or around Florence.

Key facts
Artist Italian, Florentine
Full title God the Father
Date made about 1430-40
Medium and support Egg tempera on wood
Dimensions 12.8 x 13.1 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Charles Ricketts and Charles Haslewood Shannon through the Art Fund, 1922
Inventory number NG3627
Location in Gallery Not on display
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