1:  Pontassieve Madonna

2:  Detroit Annunciation

3:  Five predella panels



Laurence Kanter brought the five altarpiece panels together for the first time in living memory in a Fra Angelico exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2005.

        The Kimbell subsequently published Kanter’s book Reconstructing the Renaissance: Saint James Freeing Hermogenes by Fra Angelico.

In this focus exhibition, shown only at the Kimbell, the Museum reunites its great Fra Angelico painting with the ensemble to which it originally belonged. The other four paintings in the group are on loan from prestigious collections in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Florence. The panels constituted a predella, which stood at the base of a now-dismembered altarpiece. They illustrate stories from the lives of Saints James, John the Baptist, Dominic and Francis, and Lucy, with a central panel showing the death of the Virgin Mary. Such a predella would have come from an altarpiece incorporating a central Virgin and Child and images of the saints or holy figures, although the other parts of this altarpiece have yet to be conclusively identified.

Read further about both the publication and the exhibition at Reconstructing the Renaissance (Kimbell Museum exhibition) (2008).





St. James the Greater and Philetus freeing Hermogenes,
c. 1426-29
26.8 x 23.8 cm  (
10-9/16" x 9-3/8")
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas

Kimbell exhibition and publication (2008-09). 

According to the thirteenth-century Golden Legend,  the magician Hermogenes had sent devils to conquer the apostle Saint James the Greater.  The devils had instead bound Hermogenes himself.   In the painting, St. James taps Philetus, a Christian convert, on the shoulder, thereby empowering him to loosen Hermogenes and free him.