Domenico Gagini Antonello Gagini
Italian, ca. 1420 - 1492
Tabernacle, ca. 1460-1470
50.8 x 73.7 cm (20 x 29 inches)
Gift of Mrs. Gustav Radeke 06.057
Trained in Florence, Domenico Gagini worked in Genoa and Naples before establishing a workshop in Sicily. This tabernacle was made for the church San Paolino at Sutera, a small town in the Sicilian province of Caltinessetta. It was designed to be mounted on a wall near an altar, where it was used to store consecrated communion wafers. Its opening, which once contained a door, is flanked by Corinthian columns and emphasized by parallel incised lines that converge toward the center and create the illusion of perspective. The sculpture’s dominant motif is a legion of angels who surround the portal with hands in prayer. Their engorged wings and billowing garments fill the composition with expectation and movement. In diminishing scale, they serve as guardians for the tabernacle’s contents and as attendants to the Madonna and Child depicted in low relief above the opening.