Madonna of the Star Fra Angelico Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Madonna of the Star, or Madonna della Stella to give it its original Italian name, is an ornate wooden panel filled with bright colour and detail.

This fragile piece would not have stood the test of time had it not been transferred away from its original location at the Sacristy, Santa Maria Novelle in Florence in 1868 to the Museo Nazionale di San Marco in the same city. The painting itself features the signature blue colour that can be found in so many Fra Angelico paintings as well as the beautifully draped material on the Madonna herself.

The combination of egg tempera and gold leaf on panel gives a beautiful finish, particularly when combined with the artist's exceptional figurative skills. The Madonna and Child sit in the middle of the painting, surrounded by a series of patterned circles. The outer rim is then decorated with eight angels in a variety of poses plus God the Almighty who symbolically sits at the top of the composition, looking down upon everyone else.

This artwork is loosely dated at 1424-1434 though paintings from the 15th century have been particularly hard to date accurately. It stands at just under one metre tall, half a metre wide. Religious themes such as this dominated the ouevre of Angelico, with him producing several madonna depictions during his career. Modonna of the Star remains one of the finest examples from his entire output that includes hundreds of paintings and drawings.

The National Museum of San Marco holds several other works by Fra Angelico, in fact more than any other institution in the world at the time of writing. Besides its supreme coverage of this influential painter, you can also discover original paintings by other Renaissance masters such as Fra Bartolomeo, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Alesso Baldovinetti, Jacopo Vignali, Bernardino Poccetti and Giovanni Antonio Sogliani.