St. Anne Presents the Immaculate Virgin with St. Francis and St. Anthony of Padua

This complex glazed terracotta altarpiece was commissioned for the Franciscan church of San Lucchese (near Poggibonsi) by Daddo Calcagni and his wife Tommasa Riccobaldi, whose coats of arms are in the predella. The imagery is densely layered here: surrounding the central figures of Anne and baby Mary are six saints, two prophets, four narrative scenes, and many angels (some playing music), as well as grotesques, faux tiling, brocaded fabric, fruit swags, a Greek meander, and other ornaments. If you stand to either side, God the Father can be glimpsed in the niche behind St. Anne. A rich variety of colors adds to the splendor of this monument for the poor Franciscans, celebrating in an unusual way the Immaculate Conception of Mary, a theological point that was still contested in this period (not made doctrine until the 19th century). Even when depicted as a baby, the Virgin Mary's nakedness could not be decorously shown, and so her mother covers her lower body with her brilliant blue and green cloak. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
External DOI