Fra Angelico (Italian, 1390/95–1455)
Tempera on panel
25 1/4 x 19 1/4 in. (64 x 49 cm)
Maitland F. Griggs Collection, Bequest of Maitland F. Griggs, 1943 (43.98.5)
In 1933, scholars isolated a supposedly homogeneous group of Florentine paintings and named their author the Master of the Griggs Crucifixion, after the present work. Subsequent documentary discoveries enabled the Griggs Master to be identified as Giovanni di Francesco Toscani (d. 1430), but it has recently become apparent that a small number of panels attributed to himamong them, ironically, the Master's name-piecewere painted instead by the young Fra Angelico, who must have exercised a powerful influence over the older but less talented Toscani.
Of all known works by Fra Angelico, this panel is the only one that bears an inscription that may be interpreted as a signature. Running across the bridle of the horse at the far right are the gilded letters Fr[a]t[er] Ihone[s], or Fra Giovanni. If this inscription refers to the artist rather than to his (unknown) patron, it would imply that the painting was completed only after Fra Angelico had professed his vows as a Dominican, some time between 1419 and 1422.