The National Gallery has announced a brand new exhibition looking at the life of Matteo Palmieri, the man who commissioned the Assumption of the Virgin and the circles that he moved in -with special attention given to his friendship with the Medici rulers of Florence and the King of Naples.
Visions of Paradise is the result of three years of research on the altarpiece of the Assumption of the Virgin by Francesco Botticini completed in about 1477 for the funerary chapel of Matteo Palmieri (1406 – 1475) in the church of San Pier Maggiore in Florence.
The exhibition will aim to provide new insight into the painting he intended to serve as his legacy as well as the creative collaborations between Palmieri and Botticini. It is said that Palmeri advised the painter on the design of this vast panel, which incorporates the landscape of Florence and its surroundings on the lower register and a dome of heaven populated with angels and saints in the upper register.
This panel was originally hung several metres off the ground at the entrance to the National Gallery’s Sainsbury Wing in 1991 and has been off display since 2011. Visions in Paradise is the first opportunity for the public to see the painting up close and in detail in 25 years.
The exhibition will feature around thirty works including paintings,sculptures,drawings,prints and manuscripts from a wide range of institutions from around the world.
Dr Jennifer Sliwka, Ahmanson Curator in Art and Religion at the National Gallery said: “For centuries, authors, poets and painters have used the ‘vision’ as a motif for exploring and expressing deeply-held desires and beliefs about human identity, the nature of the Universe and of the afterlife. The Assumption of the Virgin is a painted collaboration between an artist and patron in which the patron’s visions of Paradise, both the ideal city on Earth and in Heaven, are realised.”
Visions of Paradise: Botticini’s Palmieri Altarpiece is on display to the public from the 4th November until the 14th February 2016.