"Madonna of the Girdle"
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"Madonna of the Girdle"

Benozzo Gozzoli
Benozzo di Lese, called
(Florence 1420 - Pistoia 1497)
"Madonna of the Girdle", 1450-52
tempera on wood
cm. 133 x 164
cat. 40262

The Madonna of the Girdle was painted around 1450 by Benozzo Gozzoli the favourite pupil of Beato Angelico, with whom he trained as a painter after he had begun as an apprentice goldsmith. The altarpiece comes from the Church of S. Fortunato in Montefalco (Umbria) and was given to Pius IX (pontiff from 1846 to 1878) in 1848. In the upper part of the painting, that is closest to the style of Angelico, the Virgin, surrounded by angels, as proof of her ascent into heaven, hands her girdle to St Thomas who, not having been present at the death, burial and assumption of Mary, did not want to believe what he had been told by the others about what had happened. Events from the life of the Virgin are illustrated on the predella (Birth, Marriage, Annunciation, Birth of Christ, Circumcision of Jesus, Death of the Virgin) where the great decorative skills of Gozzoli are expressed.