Lorenzo Monaco (Piero di Giovanni) (Italian, Florentine, documented 1391–1423/24)
Tempera on wood, gold ground
overall 26 x 16 7/8 in. (66.0 x 42.9 cm); 25 7/8 x 17 3/8 in. (65.7 x 44.1 cm); 24 1/2 x 17 1/2 in. (62.2 x 44.5 cm); 22 3/8 x 17 in. (56.8 x 43.2 cm), respectively
Gwynne Andrews and Marquand Funds, and Gift of Mrs. Ralph J. Hines, by exchange, 1965 (65.14.1–.4)
Lorenzo Monaco was the outstanding painter in Florence during the first quarter of the fifteenth century—before the appearance of Masaccio, Masolino, and Fra Angelico—and the undisputed master of the so-called International Gothic Style. These four pictures of Old Testament patriarchs rank among Lorenzo's masterpieces. While the brilliant coloring and refined treatment of details recall his work as a miniaturist, the solid treatment of forms relates them to contemporary Florentine sculpture—especially that of Ghiberti and Nanni di Banco. A fifth, somewhat damaged panel showing Saint Peter (private collection) seems to have belonged to the series, the arrangement and function of which remain conjectural (were they for a secular setting, such as the courtroom of the Mercanzia?).