This is one of the more simple artworks within this series, featuring just three figures plus an assortment of architectural detail. We see the exchange of a bag of money whilst another figure wanders off to the right hand side. This piece is generally regarded as the first iteration in the series, meaning it is likely to have been placed on the left hand side of the tiled artworks, with all other frescoes then continuing along a related theme. The next items in order are believed to have been Saints Cosmas and Damian with their Brothers before Proconsul Lycias and then Saints Cosmas and Damian Rescued by an Angel, with six paintings still remaining today, and up to a further three having been mentioned but potentially then lost. The full series of works, of those that remain today, have this same combination of architecture and figurative art as a means to demonstrating different elements from the Lives of Saints Cosmas and Damian.
Comparisons are frequently made between this altarpiece and the San Marco Altarpiece, though the quality of the latter is considered by most to have been far more impressive. Those items were much larger than the predella paintings in front of us here, and many have also suggested that actually Fra Angelico played more of an advisory role, hence the reduced quality. He certainly would have created the designs himself and then perhaps instructed others to deliver them as he was known to have several commissions during this busy time in his career. It may well have been Zanobi Strozzi who completed these paintings, therefore, as he was a trusted assistant who collaborated many times with Fra Angelico. The compositions of Saint Damian Receives Money from Palladia and other elements in the predella have relatively little detail and this makes them less popular than the alternative altarpieces on which Fra Angelico worked. Items within this scene to look out for include the halos for two of the figures which the artist always liked to see painted in gold in order to help them stand out as much as possible.
The artist would leave behind an important legacy amongst his many hundreds of paintings and was consistent in both quality and style. He was frequently commissioned by religious institutions in order to help them update their decor with some breaktaking art and he became one of the most sought after artists, helping him to pick and choose which projects he took on once his reputation had been established. He would also star at an important point within European art, just as Italy was developing new ideas and helping western art more generally to move onwards from the styles of the Middle Ages. He was therefore something of a transitionary artist, bringing in new ideas and helping those who followed to continue to innovate.