Double-sided polyptych of San Francesco al Prato
Tempera e oro su tavola
Artwork nr. 17 — Hall 05 — 3rd floor
These are the fragments that remain of the enormous polyptych signed by Taddeo di Bartolo and dated 1403 that used to adorn the high altar in the church of San Francesco al Prato in Perugia. There were originally a great deal more figures, enclosed in a magnificent frame complete with gables, twisted columns, pinnacles and other late Gothic elements. The work was painted both on the side that faced the choir and on the one that faced towards the nave, so that both the laity and the choir of the friars could contemplate it.
Francis, Alter Christus
In holy week, remembering Christ’s Passion, all Christians are called on to be Alter Christus, Ipse Christus, another Christ, Christ himself.
To get closer to God by remembering the sacrifice of his son.
But with his teaching - his vow of poverty and his stigmata - Francis embodies Alter Christus.
A great supernatural device
Taddeo di Bartolo’s San Francesco al Prato Polyptych tells of the powerful bond between Siena and Perugia.
A work of imposing size, a veritable architectural device separating the presbytery from the church nave, a two sided polyptych made up of 42 pieces to which a sumptuous frame was added. Unfortunately, over the centuries the polyptych was broken up and to date only twenty four panels have been identified of which a grand total of thirteen are on display here in the Galleria.
Original placement of the artwork: