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Beato Angelico (Giovanni da Fiesole; Vicchio 1395 - Rome 1455)
Triptych (Ascension, Last Judgment, Pentecost)
Tempera on wood
55 x 18.5; 55 x 38.5; 55 x 18 cm
Inv: 395, 396, 397
The nature of this work, donated to Cardinal Lorenzo Corsini, was long debated by scholars. It was not clear whether the panels were conceived by Beato Angelico as a single work or adapted and united subsequently. Doubts arose due to the unusual juxtaposition of the three episodes depicted – Ascension, Last Judgment, Pentecost – and as a result of an erroneous interpretation of a Corsini family inventory, leading to the claim that the panels had been donated separately and later assembled. However, recent studies have countered this theory, as well as the supposed incongruity of the three episodes: this combination is found in other works, being motivated by thematic and doctrinal connections.
Recent restoration has made it possible to recover the brilliant coloring and richness of details, typical of the Florentine artist’s work. Also note the serene expression of the faces and the geometric composition of the scenes. For instance, in the Last Judgment, the two groups of the redeemed and the damned are crowded respectively to left and right of a row of graves opened in the ground, which, together with Christ the Judge divide the painted panel into two perfect halves.