Virgin and Child Enthroned with Four Angels Piero della Francesca Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

This painting was done by Piero Della Francesca between the years 1460 and 1470. It stays true to his style and subject matter, Piero being one of the most important old Renaissance art masters who painted religious art.

The Virgin and Child Enthroned with Four Angels is a small painting that was not famous when he did it, but has come to gain popularity and fame over the years. It is an oil and tempera painting based on poplar panel, transferred to fabric on a panel. Its original dimensions are 42 2/5 by 30 9/10 inches or 107.7 by 67.8 cm. It was published for the first time by Gnoli in 1930. By then it belonged to an American collector that lived in Paris. Currently, it is owned by Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

It depicts an enthroned Virgin Mary embracing her son with tenderness. The child, Christ, is reaching out to a rose that the mother is holding. Piero Della Francesca did this as a symbolic portrayal of the suffering that Christ was meant to endure in the future. Below Mary'S feet is the throne, and on it is a repeated motif of carved roses. It recalls a delicate blossom and memorializes its message on stone. Surrounding Mary are four angels and a child. This brings out an illusion of space. Piero further designed a radically compressed piece of composition in a rectangular manner, which could be the first in Borgo San Sepolco. The composition's purpose is to contain all the six monumental figures in the painting.

The techniques used are tempera and fresco art which used an innovative glazing method to give the painting an atmospheric effect. Piero's mathematical studies influenced all his paintings. This influence is also clearly apparent in this painting, too. For instance, the placement of the angels is mathematically calculated. They have been placed in precisely calibrated positions. The Virgin and Child Enthroned with Angels was commissioned by Sienese painter, Duccio di Buoninsegma. It was done in Florentine confraternity. This was a community which met in the church of Santa Maria Novella, Florence. They sang praises to the virgin. It is believed that Piero Della Francesca painted this masterpiece either for a private residence or a church. The Virgin and Child Enthroned with Four Angels definitely stands out as one of Piero Della Francesca's finest works.