Niccolo' di Tommaso
Final Judgment, 1360 c.
This panel, unquestionably one of the exhibition's masterpieces, marks an important rediscovery, for although the painting had been known to scholars for some time, their knowledge of it rested entirely on old photographs taken almost a century ago, which naturally prevented them from appreciating the rich and luminous palette and brushwork that we see today. The painter is Niccolò di Tommaso, a Florentine artist and authoritative master of Tuscan art in the 20 years following the tragic experience of the Black Death. Niccolò had been a pupil and assistant of Nardo di Cione in his youth, working with him on the decoration of the Strozzi Chapel in Santa Maria Novella, the back wall of which hosts a Last Judgment that is fairly faithfully reflected in this panel. The circles of saints and other religious figures at the feet of Christ and the Virgin are an explicit reference to Dante's vision of Paradise at the close of the Divine Comedy.