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Frame Roundel
Niccolò di Pietro Gerini
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This roundel (round panel) comes from the frame of the central panel of a multi-panelled altarpiece with an image of the baptism of Christ at the centre. It shows an angel, fingertips touched together gently in prayer.

This is the only surviving frame decoration from the altarpiece but there may have been other roundels showing angels dotted across the frame – perhaps in homage to the name of the monastery, Santa Maria degli Angeli.

Key facts
Artist Niccolò di Pietro Gerini
Artist dates documented 1368; died probably 1415, certainly by 1427
Full title Frame Roundel
Group Baptism Altarpiece
Date made 1387
Medium and support Egg tempera on wood
Dimensions 12.5 x 12.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1857
Inventory number NG579.4
Location in Gallery Not on display
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Baptism Altarpiece

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This altarpiece is the earliest known example that shows the baptism of Christ as the central image – in large multi-panelled altarpieces it was usually the Virgin and Child.

It was made for a chapel in Santa Maria degli Angeli, the Camaldolese monastery in Florence. The chapel was dedicated to the feast commemorating Saint John the Baptist’s death, but the central panel depicts the key moment in his life: when he baptised Christ in the river Jordan.

The inscription tells us that it was commissioned by one of the monastery’s monks, Don Filippo Nerone Stoldi, in memory of his mother. The monastery contained many altarpieces commissioned by Florentine families, which served as memorials. One of the monks’ duties was to say prayers for the souls of the dead on days specified by the families.

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