This remarkable triptych uses gold leaf as a background. While this creates a beautiful sheen under modern lights, seeing it in its original context may have been even more beautiful. From The Brilliant History of Color in Art:

“Former senior curator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum  Scott Schaefer tells a story about visiting a friend in Paris who is a dealer in 14th-century art. The friend asked him to dinner, ‘and I said I would go, on the condition that he let me visit his gallery at night, and that we see the paintings by candlelight.’ Most early Renaissance paintings were designed to be viewed by the flickers of candles in a dark church, and Schaefer had always wondered what that would look like. ‘It was a revelation to everyone,’ he said, describing how the flames made the pictures shift and dance as if they were animated. And the paintings with areas of pure gold … shone in a way he had not expected. He said some of the brushstrokes, which in daylight tor electricity look ordinary, appeared to be lit from within. ‘It was one of the great experiences of my life.’”

Madonna, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and Saint Paul, Daddi, Italian, about 1330, Tempera and gold leaf on panel. Framed (with original engaged frame): 47 1/2 x 22 in. JPGM 93.PB.16

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