Visions of Paradise : Botticini's Palmieri Altarpiece (PB)

Visions of Paradise : Botticini's Palmieri Altarpiece (PB)


The National Gallery’s monumental Palmieri Altarpiece was made in Florence by Francesco Botticini for the funerary chapel of Matteo Palmieri (1406–1475). Palmieri was the epitome of a ‘Renaissance man’: he held high positions in government, wrote histories and poems, and ran a profitable apothecary business.

Botticini’s altarpiece depicts the Assumption of the Virgin, or, more accurately, her reception into Heaven, here represented as a celestial dome. The panoramic landscape below depicts recognisable earthly places – Florence, the district of Fiesole and a villa and farm belonging to Matteo.

Jennifer Sliwka explains Renaissance conceptions of Heaven, Hell and the cosmos, and how the altarpiece makes reference to these. She outlines its importance as an early city portrait of Florence, and why, when it was first bought by the Gallery in 1882, it was believed to be by Sandro Botticelli.

The book also includes a useful section explaining the angelic hierarchies in the painting, and identifies the many saints, apostles, and other Old Testament figures illustrated in such astonishing detail. Featuring many photographic details that would usually be difficult to see in a work of this scale, Visions of Paradise is a fascinating exploration of a complex, mysterious and beautiful painting.


Jennifer Sliwka is Jean-François Malle Fellow at Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. She was formerly Ahmanson Curator in Art and Religion at the National Gallery, London.

Product Code 1040416
Author Jennifer Sliwka
Publisher National Gallery Company
Published Oct 2015
Format Paperback
Pages 112
Colour Illustrations 92
Dimensions 270 x 210 mm
ISBN 9781857095944
GTIN 9781857095944
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