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Preview image of work. tempera on panel,  Scenes from Boccaccio's "Il ninfale fiesolano" 4989

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Scenes from Boccaccio's "Il ninfale fiesolano"

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Fra Angelico (Guido di Piero da Mugello) (Vicchio, Italy, ca. 1400 - 3/18/1455, Rome, Italy) [formerly attributed to Toscani prior to Fra Angelico attribution Master of the Griggs Crucifixion (Toscani) (Giovanni di Francesco Toscani)];


Scenes from Boccaccio's "Il ninfale fiesolano"

Creation Date

ca. 1415-1420


15th century


11 3/8 in. x 49 13/16 in. (28.9 cm. x 126.5 cm.)

Object Type


Creation Place

Europe, Italy

Medium and Support

tempera on panel

Credit Line

Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation


Public Domain

Accession Number


This panel once formed the front of a cassone, a chest used in a Florentine household for storing fine clothes. A bride’s dowry traditionally included such cases. This panel depicts scenes from Giovanni Boccaccio’s poem Il Ninfale Fiesolano (The Nymphs of Fiesole), written ca. 1343. The painting recounts the tale of the tragic love of a mortal youth (Africo) for one of the nymphs (Mensola) in the entourage of goddess Diana. In the first scene, Diana holds court in a verdant garden, warning the nymphs to beware of men. The heroine Mensola, to the right, points to the second scene, in which Venus, the goddess of love, appears to the handsome Africo in a dream. In scene three, his parents warn Africo not to pursue Diana’s nymphs. Finally, he reveals himself to Mensola (swimming with her companions), who falls in love at the sight of him. A companion chest, now lost, might have completed the tale with additional scenes, including the transformation of the nymph Mensola into the river of the same name. In 2005 Laurence Kantor, a noted scholar of early Italian art, hypothesized that this work was painted by an adolescent Guido di Pietro, later known as Fra Angelico, then learning his art in the workshop of Lorenzo Monaco.

Object Description

cassone panel possibly from a marriage chest

Keywords: apparition   attribution history   bather   bird   cassone   conservation history   Diana   dowry   dream   figurative   figure   flora   fruit tree   garden   goddess   group of people   image of Fiesole   image of Tuscany   love   man   marriage   narrative   night sky   nightingale   nude   nymph   reclining   related to literature   relationship   river   rock   sleep   transparency   tree   trunk   vision   Venus   Venus   woman