Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon and the Stories of Saul and David
Current location: Battistero, Porta del Paradiso
Address: Piazza San Giovanni, Firenze
Among those who assisted Lorenzo Ghiberti in the execution of the second door of the Baptistery of Saint John, known as the 'the gate of Paradise', was Benozzo Gozzoli. On this occasion, the painter exhibited himself in the art of the goldsmith, given that it was a customary requirement at the time for artists, especially those belonging to the larger workshops, to be skilled in the techniques employed in the 'sister' arts.
On 24th January 1444, Benozzo stipulated an agreement to work with Lorenzo and his son Vittorio for three years in return for 60 gold florins for the first year, 70 for the second and 80 for the third; these handsome payments confirmed the status of the artist, rightly referred to in the contract as a "dipintore", a term used exclusively for painters who had completed their apprenticeship.
Critics are unanimous in attributing to Benozzo the two panels depicting the Stories of Saul and David and the Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon, this latter episode an allusion to the reconciliation of the Western and Eastern Churches reached in Florence in 1439.