Designed with lavish gilding and fine brushwork, the painting has undoubtedly served as a demonstration of refined art connoisseurship and equally as a portrait for distinct devotions. In this unique painting masterwork of the early Renaissance, Fra Angelico pulled out all the tricks with regard to his talent. This is particularly evident in the exceptional design of the canopy above the throne, as well as the wide range of gestures and poses of the saints.
The saints are John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, and Anthony Abbot. From the painting, Anthony is painted as a respected monk with tau-shaped staff, Peter is holding a key, and Paul has a sword, while John the Baptist is gesturing towards the child, Christ. In the peak of the portrait, the dead Christ in the tomb is lined by St John the Evangelist and the grieving Virgin. Commonly seen as one of the leading forms of holy conversation, Fra’s compositional tactic was revolutionary in this art during that time. As opposed to portraying each of the saints individually in several flanking panels, Angelico created a cohesive space on one panel for all the individuals.
Also, his detailed construction of space is in line with Alberti’s theories since it makes sure that the virgin and child are centrally amongst the other figures. A few steps elevate the Madonna and child to prevent them from becoming lost amongst the saints. Besides, the realistic background creates depth, which ensures that the enthroned is the primary focus of the portrait. Angelico also utilizes naturalistic effects of color and light combined with various patterns and colors. The natural colors ensure that the painting has a slightly darker complexion, which may highlight the holy sanctity of the moment.
His utilization of the blue and red traditional colors of the St John the Evangelist, Virgin, and the other saints are notable. By dressing them in red and blue, Fra creates geometric stability and further vertical link. The symmetry that results from the colors and figures enables the view to zoom in and create a continuous, smooth movement from image to image, ultimately arriving at Madonna and child in the central point.