Coronation of the Virgin
- The Coronation, a theme that enjoyed great popularity in 13th-century Italy, had its origins in French Gothic art. In these scenes, the Virgin and Christ are shown enthroned and Christ crowns his mother queen of heaven. That the scene takes place in a divine realm is usually indicated by the blue or gilded back-ground, the inclusion of astral bodies, or the enclosure of the figures in either a mandorla or a sphere. The Coronation by Jacopo Torriti at Santa Maria Maggiore (c. 1294), for instance, shows Christ and the Virgin enclosed in a blue orb dotted with stars, the sun and the moon at their feet. Fra Filippo Lippi introduced a new compositional type in his Coronation of the Virgin for the main altar of Sant' Ambrogio, Florence (1441-1447). Instead of sitting next to Christ, Lippi's Virgin kneels in prayer in front of God the Father who crowns her. In c. 1597, Annibale Carracci (New York, Metropolitan Museum) presented the coronation as an act carried out by both God and Christ, with the Holy Dove floating above and musical angels adding a festive mood. This type of rendition also existed in the North, with Enguerrand Charonton's Coronation of the Virgin (1454; Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, Musée de l' Hospice) providing an example.
Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. Lilian H. Zirpolo. 2008.
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