It is believed that each narrow item were originally used as wings but have since been separated and treated as unique artworks. The left hand panel features Saint Francis and an unknown Bishop, whilst on the opposing side we find Saint John the Baptist and Saint Dominic. All of these iconic figures from religious scripture also appear again in other Fra Angelico paintings. In most cases the artist would include symbols of their identity within the artwork so that they can be easily identified, and this was a method used by others throughout the Renaissance era. The Madonna, for example, was typically adorned in blue clothing, whilst saints would be holding objects which connected to their lives, and sometimes their professional specialities. The composition style is typical of the artist too, with each figure presented with just a slight angle away from the viewer, but facing us enough that we can appreciate their full appearance.

Both sides of this overall artwork are relatively simple, supporting the idea that these were intended to accompany a more significant artwork on either flank. For example, there is very little detail besides the figure portraits themselves. An archway appears over and around the two couples and there are some touches of background detail, but relatively little. The interest is therefore in the beautifully painted clothing, with traditional religious dress accurately captured by this highly respected Italian painter.

The John Paul Getty Museum is based in Los Angeles, USA, making this artwork one of the few from this artist's career to be found in the country. Most still reside in Italy or elsewhere in Europe, with few of the major art galleries being likely to sell their possessions anytime soon. The fresco nature of this painter's work has made many of his creations particularly difficult to remove from their original locations, so some remain in their intended spots. You may come across artworks from his career that were removed from wall installations just after his own lifetime and many of these were damaged in the process, sadly. Much greater efforts are made today in order to ensure the preservation of these historical paintings, with scientific research also helping us to learn more about their past.

Saint Francis and a Bishop Saint, Saint John the Baptist and Saint Dominic in Detail Fra Angelico