Giovanni di Paolo (Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia) (Italian, Sienese, ca. 1400–1482)
Tempera and gold on canvas, transferred from wood; Overall 18 1/2 x 16 in. (47 x 40.6 cm); painted surface 17 1/2 x 15 1/8 in. (44.5 x 38.4 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1906 (06.1046)
This exquisite painting and a panel of the Creation and Expulsion from Paradise in the Metropolitan (Robert Lehman Collection, 1975.1.31) were both probably from the predella of an altarpiece formerly on the Guelfi altar in San Domenico, Siena, painted in 1445. In this vision of Paradise, filled with flowers and trees, groups of saints and angels embrace. The composition derives from Fra Angelico's paintings in Florence of the Last Judgment, but its combination of intensity and decorative effect is typical of Giovanni di Paolo's style. The rich floral setting may derive from northern tapestries, much prized in Siena, where a French weaver was employed.