The Conversion of St Augustine by Fra Angelico
This painting is by the early Renaissance Italian artist Fra Giovanni Fiesole, better known as Fra Angelico. It is a section of a larger type of work described as a Thebaid, which depicts the life of hermits and monks living in the desert, who are sometimes referred to as the Desert Fathers.
Five of six panels are known to exist and are kept at different locations. It is not known if the sixth panel has survived.
The four outside panels show the four original Doctors of the Church, all saints: St Augustine, St Ambrose, St Jerome and St Gregory the Great.
The date attribute is between circa 1430 and circa 1435.
My purpose in presenting information on this work – in particular the panel of St Augustine’s conversion – is because it has elements and themes which the Flemish artist Hugo van der Goes later incorporated into his painting, The Adoration of the Magi. The Monforte Altarpiece, as it is also known, is extensive in detail, much of which has laid undiscovered in over 500 years.
More to follow...
CONVERSION OF ST AUGUSTINE
by Fra Angelico
housed at Musée Thomas Henry, Cherbourg, France
Tempera on wood, 21.8 × 34.2 cm