The Virgin and Child Enthroned

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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This is the central part of a painting done in fresco (painting directly on wet plaster) on the outside wall of a house in Florence. It was flanked by two saints, whose heads – the only surviving parts – are also in the National Gallery’s collection.

The grand, simple design and colours were ideal for an image that would be seen from below. The high arms of the throne project outwards towards us, framing the Virgin Mary and Christ; God the Father swoops in above and, with arms outstretched, presents them. Golden rays from his mouth pour onto the dove, the symbol of the Holy Ghost. All three members of the Trinity (God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost) are represented here.

This was Domenico’s first work in Florence. He may have been impressed by the Florentine painter Massacio’s famous fresco of the Trinity in the nearby church of Santa Maria Novella, which is also set within a fictive grey-stone arch.

The National Gallery, London



The Virgin and Child Enthroned


about 1440-4


Fresco, transferred to canvas


H 241 x W 120.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Presented by the 26th Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, 1886

Work type



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Normally on display at

The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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