Agnolo Gaddi, Stained glass window with Saints Michael, Paul, Stephen, Gregory, Sebastian and Lucia
- Agnolo Gaddi - Leonardo di Simone
- Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
- Specific location
- Interior, left nave, third bay, mullioned window
- Leading, painting
- Height: 900 cm; Width: 190 cm;
- Glass, lead, pigments
Stained glass window created in 1394 by Leonardo di Simone, master glassmaker and Vallombrosian monk, to a cartoon by Agnolo Gaddi, one of the most important painters of the time.
This window is part of a group of four, first commissioned in 1388 and all similar in shape and iconography, adorning the mullioned openings of the third and fourth bays of the south and north aisles. In each work, the panels in stained glass conform with the elongated ogival forms of the openings, and are divided along the vertical midline, with left and right sides arranged in three horizontal registers, for a total of six parts. Each part depicts a saint, standing within a tabernacle/temple niche. Despite the stylistic differences of the glass masters who created and installed the works, we can see the genius of Agnolo Gaddi in the highly accurate and fine design, and in the use, for the first time in Italian stained glass, of such complex tabernacles, already present in northern Europe, and for these windows modelled on those of contemporary fresco painting.
Within a border of gilded lilies and angels (seraphim in red, cherubim in blue), this window shows, at top left, Archangel Michael, as he is described in the Book of Revelation: prince of the celestial armies, in armour with shield and spear, as he tramples and pierces the evil dragon. At his side is Saint Paul, prince of the Church, with the Gospel and sword, the latter recalling his martyrdom by beheading in Rome.
Below is Saint Stephen, protomartyr, in deacon’s clothing, bearing the stones of lapidation on his head, the palm of martyrdom in one hand and the Gospel in the other - perhaps as a reference to the account of his death, contained in the Acts of the Apostles.
Beside Stephen is Saint Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church, in bishop's robes, with mitre and green cope, who shows an open book in his left hand (perhaps one of his texts on theology) while with his right he blesses.
In the bottom register at right we see Saint Sebastian, portrayed as a knight, in his right hand holding one of the arrows of his first martyrdom. Finally, on the left is a female saint, with a veiled head, a flame-sheltering vase or a candle in one hand and the palm of martyrdom in the other. The fire or light could suggest this as Saint Lucy, reflective of her name, from Latin luce, or ‘light’.