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Magnificat December Art Essay: Altarpiece of Saint Ambrose (1503) by Alvise Vivarini (c. 1445–c. …

Descended from a long line of distinguished Venetian painters, including his father and uncle who trained him, Alvise Vivarini was at the pinnacle of his career when he was commissioned to paint an …More
Descended from a long line of distinguished Venetian painters, including his father and uncle who trained him, Alvise Vivarini was at the pinnacle of his career when he was commissioned to paint an altarpiece for the Chapel of the Milanese in the Franciscan Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice. The Chapel of the Milanese had been created in the 14th century in recognition of the large number of devout Lombards residing in Venice. Their choice of Vivarini for the commission confirmed the high esteem in which his work was held in the Most Serene Republic. Given the sponsorship, it was agreed that the subject would be Saint Ambrose (337–397), Bishop and Patron Saint of Milan. The chapel itself, located slightly to the left of the main altar, held pride of place in the vast Frari Church, as it was known. A stunning architectural frame for the altarpiece was created in wood and painted gold, providing a strong visual framework, leading the eye into the powerfully illusionisti…More