The Apostle Saint James the Greater Freeing the Magician Hermogenes
Recordings for Adults
When the altarpiece from which The Apostle Saint James Freeing the Magician Hermogenes originates was disassembled, the predella panel was cut into separate paintings. This probably accounts for the fact that the Kimbell panel was trimmed slightly on the left side while the right side still has its original incised and gilded border. The missing section was replaced with a modern, gilded wood strip.
Fra Angelico used the classic egg tempera technique, described by Cennino Cennini, in which the paint is applied with a range of fine brushes and delicate hatched strokes. Other hallmarks of this method include the use of pure pigments, such as brilliant vermilion and precious lapis lazuli, and the modeling of forms from light to dark, as seen in the drapery and in the layering of the leaves. Fra Angelico's use of gilding is particularly masterful. He makes use of two types for varied effects. Saint James' halo is an example of water gilding in which gold leaf is applied on top of a red bole, a type of fine clay, and later burnished. The refined decorative borders of the robe on the other hand, exhibit slightly raised lines that are characteristic of mordant gilding. In this technique the gold leaf is applied to a tacky adhesive that is painted onto the surface with a fine brush and left unburnished. The evocative power of Fra Angelico's finely crafted image is evidenced by the "X's" that were scratched into the faces of the devils centuries ago by vandals.