Virgin and Child Enthroned with the Archangel Michael, and Saints Lawrence, Stephen, George
Giovanni dal Ponte
Italian (Florentine) 1385 - c. 1437/1438
c. 1425 - 1426
Tempera painting on three lindenwood panels
Though not much is available biographically about Giovanni di Marco dal Ponte, we know that aside from painting altarpieces such as this one, he was known to have painted cassone – bridal chests. Virgin and Child Enthroned was probably installed in a family chapel in a Florentine church. There is symmetry in the lineup of saints in this painting. Saints Lawrence and Stephen, who flank the Virgin, were both young martyrs. The Archangel Michael, unlike his gentler counterpart the messenger Gabriel, is associated with warriors as fitting for his role of the leader of God’s armies. He is balanced by Saint George, the legendary dragon-slaying saint. Looking closely, one can see a tiny Annunciation scene in this altarpiece. The Archangel Gabriel appears over the head of Michael, and the Virgin Mary gestures to him from above the head of Saint George.