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Angels, c. 1450-1500

Neri di Bicci
Italian, 1419 - 1493
egg tempera with oil glazes and gold leaf on wood, likely poplar
frame: 46 x 128.5 x 12.6 cm each
Purchased 1930
National Gallery of Canada (no. 3716.2-3)

These panels were acquired together with "The Assumption of the Virgin", a large altarpiece by Neri. They were arranged as a predella, a row of images set below the altarpiece. Examination reveals that this work was altered, likely in the 19th century. The joins of the four original panels, each of which featured a pair of angels, have been painted over to create two continuous images. The original relationship of the four panels is unknown, and it is unclear whether they were, in fact, once a part of the "Assumption". The angels are clearly responding to something, some in adoration, others gesturing. As they are best seen from below, it is possible they once decorated the top of an altarpiece frame - the angels engaging with the painted scene beneath.

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