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First floor - Room V - The 15-th century paintings


The 15th-century paintings are displayed in Room V. Alongside the panels with gold ground begin to appear works in which the divine light is substituted with a real-life landscape, geometrically described. Gradually each situation, even the religious one, is narrated in the context of a realistic world.

Matteo di Giovanni
Madonna with Child and Saints
end of 15th century

This extraordinary painting, in an excellent state of conservation, was painted by the Sienese artist Matteo di Giovanni at the end of the 15th century. The elegant Madonna holds the Baby Jesus in her lap. Behind them are the very expressively-depicted St. Anthony and St. Domenic, who frowningly observe the scene.
Although the author understands the perspective rules, as can be deduced from the arrangement of the figures, he chooses to immerse the scene in a gold ground. This operation is almost a homage to the great 14th-century Sienese tradition, but the artist is careful to render the light touch typical of Simone Martini.

Madonna con Bambino e santi


Bicci di Lorenzo
St. Jerome

This panel, which had always been considered the work of Bicci di Lorenzo, has also been reconnected to Masaccio. Painted in 1433, it was part of a sumptuous polyptych originally located in the church of San Nicolò in Cafaggio in Florence and removed from there in 1783.
St. Jerome, in his role as translator and propagator of the Gospels, is described here as strong and sturdy, intent on writing. Immersed in the gold ground, the saint seems so absorbed in his task as to be abstracted from surrounding reality.

San Girolamo


Benedetto Bembo
Madonna of Humility and Musician Angels
end of 15th century

The panel, painted in Ferrara around the middle of the 15th century, was initially attributed to Maccagnino, a painter working at the d'Este court; it was later more appropriately relocated among the works of Benedetto Bembo. The painting shows the Virgin with Child and musician angels, and emphasises the idea of the passage from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.
The humble Virgin, seated on the ground, holds Baby Jesus in her arms; both figures are huge in proportion to the surrounding choir of angels.

Madonna dell'umiltà e angeli musicanti


Giovanni Mazone
Apotheosis of St. Nicolas of Tolentino
c. 1466

This large painting showing the Apotheosis of St. Nicholas of Tolentino was the central section of a polyptych painted for Santa Maria della Cella in Sampiardarena (Genoa); the sumptuous work have been commissioned by the powerful Doria family.
The panel was painted by Giovanni Mazone around 1466 and was subsequently adapted to the oval shape for new space and taste needs.

Apoteosi di San Nicolò da Tolentino



Alvise Vivarini
St. Jerome repenting
end of 15th century

Alvise Vivarini, a great representative of Venetian figurative painting, painted this panel around the end of the 15th century. St. Jerome repenting, beating his chest, is placed inside a landscape which, with its light and its meteorological quality, actually becomes the true protagonist of the scene. The gold of holiness is replaced by a damp lagoon-side desert.

San Girolamo penitente