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Saint Lucy and Her Mother at the Shrine of Saint Agatha; Saint Lucy Giving Alms; Saint Lucy before Paschasius; Saint Lucy Resisting Efforts to Move Her

Giovanni di Bartolommeo Cristiani (Italian, Florence, active 1367–98)

Medium:
Tempera on wood, gold ground
Dimensions:
(.4 and .3) 9 3/4 x 15 1/8 in. (24.8 x 38.4 cm); (.1) 9 1/2 x 15 1/4 in. (24.1 x 38.7 cm); (.2) 10 x 15 in. (25.4 x 38.1 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1912
Accession Number:
12.41.1–4
  • Gallery Label

    Saint Lucy was martyred in 303, at the height of Diocletian's persecutions of the Christians, for proclaiming her faith and distributing her goods to the poor. These four scenes of her life include Saint Agatha appearing to Lucy in a vision and foretelling the healing of her mother; the distribution of her inheritance; her refusal to sacrifice to idols; and the failure of oxen to drag her to a brothel. A further scene showing her Last Communion and Martyrdom belongs to a private collection, while a sixth is known from an engraving. The narrative scenes may have originally flanked an image of "Saint Lucy Enthroned" (Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven).

    Cristiani was active principally in the Tuscan city of Pistoia, and these are among his most attractive pictures.

  • Catalogue Entry

    Forthcoming

  • Provenance

    [Jean Paul Richter, Florence, until 1912; sold to MMA]

  • Exhibition History

    Westport, Conn. Westport Community Art Association. February 12–24, 1955, no catalogue?

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Florentine Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum," June 15–August 15, 1971, no catalogue.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Saints and Their Legends," March 1–June 6, 1974, exh. brochure.

    Rome. Palazzo Venezia. "Romei e Giubilei. Il pellegrinaggio medievale a San Pietro (350–1350)," October 29, 1999–February 26, 2000, no. 38a–b (12.41.3–4, calls 12.41.3 "Santa Lucia dispensa l'elemosina ai pellegrini").

  • References

    B[ryson]. B[urroughs]. "A Tuscan Predella." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 6 (May 1912), pp. 92–93, ill., as by a Tuscan master of the late fourteenth century; identifies the series as episodes in the life of Saint Lucy belonging to the predella of an unknown altarpiece from which other scenes are missing

    .

    Bryson Burroughs. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Catalogue of Paintings. 6th ed. New York, 1922, pp. 183–84, attributes the series to Lorenzo di Niccolò.

    Bernard Berenson. "Quadri senza casa: Il Trecento fiorentino, III." Dedalo 11 (1931), p. 1314, ill. p. 1317 (12.41.1), mentions only three of the panels and calls them part of a predella; hesitantly attributes the series to Cristiani, noting a similarity to works by Lorenzo di Niccolò and Mariotto di Nardo; calls them scenes from the legend of a female saint.

    Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, pp. 238–39, lists three of the panels as by Cristiani and calls them part of a predella; identifies them as scenes from the legend of a female saint.

    Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 205.

    Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, pp. 16–17, ill., attributes the series to Cristiani and says it may have been the predella or side panels of an altarpiece dedicated to Saint Lucy.

    George Kaftal. Iconography of the Saints in Tuscan Painting. Florence, 1952, col. 645, figs. 741–44, attributes the series to Cristiani and calls the panels part of a predella.

    Richard Offner. "A Ray of Light on Giovanni del Biondo and Niccolò di Tommaso." Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 7 (July 1956), p. 192, attributes the series to Cristiani.

    Federico Zeri. Letter to Hellmut Wohl. March 2, 1961, believes the series was originally part of an altarpiece, with two panels on either side of a central panel of Saint Lucy with Angels (Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven).

    Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Florentine School. London, 1963, vol. 1, p. 51, pls. 329 (12.41.3), 330 (12.41.2).

    Catalogue of Important Old Master Paintings. Sotheby's, London. June 24, 1964, p. 35, under no. 48, says the series belonged to the same predella as a scene of the Martyrdom of Saint Lucy (now Kisters collection, Kreuzlingen, Switzerland).

    M[iklòs]. Boskovits. "Un'opera probabile di Giovanni di Bartolomeo Cristiani e l'iconografia della 'Preparazione alla Crocifissione'." Acta Historiae Artium 11, nos. 1–2 (1965), pp. 69–70, figs. 4–5 (12.41.1–2), attributes the series to Cristiani, dating it after the artist's altarpiece of 1370 in the church of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas, Pistoia; discusses the panels as part of the predella of an altarpiece with a central image of Saint Lucy with Angels (Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven), and compares them to a Christ Ascending the Cross (Christian Museum, Esztergom).

    Bernard Berenson. Homeless Paintings of the Renaissance. Bloomington, 1970, p. 126, fig. 212 (12.41.3) [same text as Ref. Berenson 1931].

    Charles Seymour Jr. Early Italian Paintings in the Yale University Art Gallery. New Haven, 1970, pp. 62–63, under no. 42, states that the series also included the Communion of Saint Lucy (Heinz Kisters collection, Kreuzlingen, Switzerland), and a missing sixth scene; reconstructs the original altarpiece with the Yale Saint Lucy in the center, flanked on the left by (top to bottom) 12.41.4, 12.41.3, 12.41.1, and on the right by (top to bottom) 12.41.2, the Kisters panel, and the missing scene.

    Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Florentine School. New York, 1971, pp. 39–42, ill., note that the series may have been the predella of an altarpiece, but find Seymour's reconstruction [see Ref. 1970] more likely; find it possible that the Yale Saint Lucy was the central panel
    .

    Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 59, 426, 606.

    Miklòs Boskovits. Pittura fiorentina alla vigilia del Rinascimento, 1370–1400. Florence, 1975, pp. 317–18, accepts the attribution to Cristiani and the connection with the panels in Kreuzlingen and New Haven; dates the MMA panels 1365–70 and the others 1375–80

    .

    Gaudenz Freuler. "Manifestatori delle cose miracolose": Arte italiana del '300 e '400 da collezioni in Svizzera e nel Liechtenstein. Exh. cat., Fondazione Thyssen-Bornemisza. Lugano, 1991, pp. 200, 202, accepts Seymour's reconstruction [see Ref. 1970] of the original altarpiece and dates it 1370s.

    L. Badalassi. "Peregrini, pauperes e infirmi: appunti per una ricognizione iconografica sul tema del Viator." L'ospitalità in Altopascio; storia e funzioni di un grande centro ospitaliero: il cibo, la medicina e il controllo della strada. Exh. cat., Piazza Ospitalieri. Lucca, [1996], p.11 [see Ref. Gargiulo 1999].

    Michel Laclotte. Letter to Everett Fahy. August 25, 1997, states that the missing sixth scene is the Funeral of Saint Lucy formerly in the collection of Timothée Francillon, Paris, in the early nineteenth century; includes an engraving of this work and reports that the original has not been found.

    Michel Laclotte. "N'en déplaise à Cicognara: la collection Francillon." Curiosité: Études d'histoire de l'art en l'honneur d'Antoine Schnapper. [Paris], 1998, p. 418, fig. 150 (reconstruction), repeats the information in Ref. Laclotte 1997, reproducing the line engraving of the lost panel of the "Funeral of Saint Lucy," as well as a reconstruction of the ensemble following that proposed by Seymour [see Ref. 1970].

    Marina Gargiulo in Romei e Giubilei: il pelegrinaggio medievale a San Pietro (350–1350). Exh. cat.Milan, 1999, p. 305, no. 38a–b, ill. in color (12.14.3–4), dates the series to the late Trecento; identifies the figure facing Saint Lucy in 12.41.3 as a pilgrim by the shell on his hat.

    Aldo Galli. "Tavole toscane del Tre e Quattrocento nella collezione di Alfonso Tacoli Canacci." Invisibile agli occhi: atti della giornata di studio in ricordo di Lisa Venturini. Florence, 2007, pp. 20, 27 n. 56, figs. 22, 23 (12.41.1, with current and former frames), identifies the Yale picture as one included in inventories of the collection of marchese Alfonso Tacoli Canacci (1726–1801) between 1789 and 1792, hypothesizing that Tacoli Canacci originally owned the entire complex, dismembering it and selling the narrative panels separately before 1789.

    Stella Panayotova in Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300–1350. Exh. cat., J. Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles, 2012, p. 241, relates the panel depicting Saint Lucy Resisting Efforts to Move Her to a manuscript illumination of the same subject by Pacino di Bonaguida (ca. 1340; Queen's College, Cambridge; Ms. 77C).



  • Notes

    These four panels were part of a larger series depicting the life of Saint Lucy that included a scene of her last communion and martyrdom (Kisters collection, Kreuzlingen, Switzerland), and one of her funeral, known only from an engraving [see Ref. Laclotte 1997]. The six scenes may have originally flanked a central image of Saint Lucy with Angels (Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven).

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    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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