Trinity with Saint Mary Magdalen and Saint John the Baptist, Archangel Raphael and Tobias
Sandro Botticelli (born 1444 or 1445, died 1510)
Workshop of Sandro Botticelli (born 1444 or 1445, died 1510)
Tempera and oil(?) on panel
Width: 233 cm [unchecked] ( frame ); Height: 256 cm [unchecked] ( frame ); Width: 192.4 cm ( panel ); Height: 214 cm ( panel ); Depth: 0 ( frame 10.9 cm [unchecked]);
Acquisition (source, method, date)
Lee of Fareham, Arthur Hamilton (1st Viscount); bequest; 1947
About this work
A vision of the Trinity dominates this altarpiece. It comes from the high altar of Sant’Elisabetta delle Convertite, a Florentine convent for repentant prostitutes. John the Baptist, patron saint of Florence, and Mary Magdalen, patroness of the convent, flank this surprising apparition. The Magdalen is clothed by her hair, and John wears fur, recalling the periods that both saints spent in the wilderness. Life for the nuns of the Convertite was similarly austere. They were urged to follow the example of Mary Magdalen, the story of whose conversion was shown in four small panels once fixed below this painting.
Two small figures, the Archangel Raphael and Tobias, walk in the landscape below the saints and the Trinity. Tobias and Raphael are painted in a free and graceful style, which differs in tone and technique from the main figures. As was normal practice, Botticelli delegated portions of this large altarpiece to assistants. The angels surrounding the Trinity are certainly by members of his workshop.
(Permanent collection label)
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Copyright: © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London