Artist: Lorenzo Monaco (Piero di Giovanni) (Italian, Florence (?) ca. 1370–1425 Florence (?))

Date: ca. 1408–10

Medium: Tempera on wood, gold ground

Dimensions: Overall 26 x 16 7/8 in. (66 x 42.9 cm); painted surface 22 7/8 x 16 5/8 in. (58.1 x 42.2 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gwynne Andrews Fund, and Gift of G. Louise Robinson, by exchange, 1965

Accession Number: 65.14.1


These Old Testament prophets date about 1405–10 and are among the masterpieces of Lorenzo Monaco, the leading late Gothic painter in Florence. Each figure holds an identifying attribute and strikes a rhetorical pose. Moses holds the tablets of the Ten Commandments; Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac prefigures that of Christ; David, holding a cither, is considered a direct ancestor of Christ; and Noah's ark prefigures the Church. These intense figures have reminded scholars of the sculpture of Donatello and Ghiberti. It is not certain whether they were arranged single file or were superimposed in pairs or whether they formed an altarpiece or served some other function. A panel showing Saint Peter may have formed the center panel.