Cappella Maggiore

Artist: Agnolo Gaddi


Date: 1337

Location: Santa Croce

Medium: tempera on wood

Approximate dimensions of work: alterpiece

The artist was taught by his father, who had been schooled by master, Giotto. Agnolo Gaddi lived in Florence from 1350 to 1396. In 1337 he undertook his most “ambitious work” of  8 frescoes in Santa Croce in Florence, in which his paintings depicted the “Legend of the True Cross”. These focus on design rather than expression and he had “optical unification”. This was a new approach toward painting of International Gothic style.  The frescos began with the archangel Michael giving Seth a branch from the tree of knowledge, and it ended with the Emperor Heraclius carrying the cross as he entered Jerusalem (who was a conqueror and supposedly brought the true cross back to Jerusalem). It is in this last fresco that the painter included a portrait of himself. Gaddi composed his subjects  better than his father, Taddeo.  He portrayed more dignity and individuality in the figures. The images were clear with bold colourist and extremely decorative. His drawings were best viewed from a distance.

In Santa Croce, his Cappella Maggiore is the altarpiece for the church.


“Agnolo Gaddi (Italian Artist) — Britannica Online Encyclopedia.” Encyclopedia – Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web. 14 Apr. 2010. <;.

“Gaddi – LoveToKnow 1911.” 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica – Free Online. Web. 14 Apr. 2010. <;.