Sandro Botticelli
Coronation of the Virgin with Saint John the Evangelist,
Saint Augustine, Saint Jerome and Saint Eligius

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Sandro Botticelli, Coronation of the Virgin with Saint John the Evangelist, Saint Augustine, Saint Jerome and Saint Eligius

Date:

1490/92

378 X 258 cm

Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi

Coronation of the Virgin

This painting was Botticelli’s largest altarpiece. It was commissioned by the guild of goldsmiths who were responsible for the upkeep for the San Marco Church. Because of their involvement in the church, they wanted to donate a unique but impressive altarpiece. This painting was the largest altarpiece work done in the 15 th century with the exception being two altarpieces that were done for major churches commissioned by rival patrons each trying to be most impressive. Botticelli’s altarpiece in the San Marco Church was even larger than the high altarpiece in the same church.

The painting is divided into two sections; the heavenly zone and the earthly zone. In the heavens, surrounded by God and a choir of angels is a humble Mary receiving a blessing from God himself. Below on earth are four saints, each experiencing the scene above in a different way. On the left is St. John the Evangelist, the patron saint of the Arte della Seta (the silk weavers guild), and on the right is his opposite Saint Eligious the patron saint of goldsmiths. Saint John is looking toward heaven reaching to be a part of the happenings, while St. Eligius is looking outward, connecting with the earth. St. Eligious is also gesturing with his right hand a blessing that is aimed at the goldsmiths viewing the picture. The middle two figures are two fathers of the church: St Augustine and Saint Jerome.

The Coronation of the Virgin painting was not only very large, but used a large amount of gold in the upper zone. Detail was used to a larger extent in the upper zone verses the lower zone. This could be due to the fact that this painting was not as expensive as some of Bottocelli’s other work such as the Bardi Altarpiece. Botticelli may have used his assistants to paint the less detailed area behind the saints. The lack of detail on the lower part could also be to show it is the less important area of the two parts of the picture.

 

 

 



 

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