sun 20/09/2020

Devotion by Design: Italian Altarpieces Before 1500, National Gallery | reviews, news & interviews

Devotion by Design: Italian Altarpieces Before 1500, National Gallery

Devotion by Design: Italian Altarpieces Before 1500, National Gallery

A narrative of the divine made flesh, from the Annuciation to the crucifixion

Andrea Mantegna’s 'Virgin and Child with the Magdalen and Saint John the Baptist'

Down the stairs the visitor enters a sequence of galleries gleaming with gold, seemingly illuminated by softly filtered evening light and flickering candles: here be a treasure house of stories in paint: saints, sinners and the narrative of the divine made flesh, from the Annunciation to the crucifixion.  Some 40 Italian altarpieces, from the 13th through to the 15th centuries – some whole but most just fragments – are theatrically displayed to suggest the atmosphere of late medieval and early Renaissance Italian churches, monasteries and convents.

Down the stairs the visitor enters a sequence of galleries gleaming with gold, seemingly illuminated by softly filtered evening light and flickering candles: here be a treasure house of stories in paint: saints, sinners and the narrative of the divine made flesh, from the Annunciation to the crucifixion.  Some 40 Italian altarpieces, from the 13th through to the 15th centuries – some whole but most just fragments – are theatrically displayed to suggest the atmosphere of late medieval and early Renaissance Italian churches, monasteries and convents.

The realism with which all too human emotions are depicted remains extraordinarily telling

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