The painting of this week is the altarpiece 'Assumption of the Virgin', a monumental vision of Heaven populated with saints and angels (on display at the National Gallery in London). But it is not about its artist, Francesco Botticini, but about Matteo Palmieri who commissioned it, I would like to talk.
Palmieri (1406-75), a true Renaissance man, studied science and philosophy, wrote histories and poetry, and held top positions in the Florentine government. One of the illustrious men of his generation, he wrote a treaty on the ideal citizen titled 'On Civic Life'. His 'vision of paradise' was the physical and intellectual development of children. He believed that education at an early age is crucial for improving the human capacity to do good for themselves and community. Education and an active life was his idea of Heaven.
Palmieri advised the artist on the design and concept of this painting. He was its true creator. Driven by passion and vision for the good, you too can instigate and bring to life an artwork, your lasting legacy, even if you are not an artist.
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