Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

The Descent of the Holy Spirit

Francesco Orlandini
Italian, Verona
Walnut and other woods
H. 35-1/2 x W. 43-1/2 in. (90.2 x 110.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of the children of Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney, 1942
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 502
Commissioned by Claude d'Urfé, Ambassador of the King of France to the Council of Trent. Executed by Fra Damiano da Bergamo and his assistants in the Convent of San Domenico at Bologna, and set up in the Chapel of the Château de la Bastie d'Urfé, near Lyons.

The altarpiece, representing the Last Supper, is signed by Fra Damiano and dated 1548. It was designed by Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola.

The inlaid panels show architectural views, still lifes, landscapes, sacred subjects and ornamental patterns.

The carved cartouches display the cipher of Claude d'Urfé and his wife, Jeanne de Balzac, the Eucharistic sacrificial lamb, adopted as an emblem by Claude d'Urfé, and various Trinitarian symbols. The design of these cartouches was also probably due to Vignola.

The inscription running around the wainscoting is based upon the words of the Eucharistic hymn of Saint Thomas Aquinas. It indicates that the Chapel was dedicated to the Holy Sacrament as well as to the Trinity.
Signature: FRANCISCI/ORLANDINI/VERONENSIS/OPVS 1547 (in lower right hand corner)

Inscription: In panel above doorway: SPVS DOMINI/REPLEVIT ORBEM/TERRARVM (trans., The Spirit of the Lord filled the whole of the earth).
Claude d'Urfé , Château de la Bastie d'Urfé, near Montbrison, St. Étienne-le-Molard (Loire), France; Château de la Bâstie d'Urfe (until 1874) ; Émile Peyre , Paris (until ca. 1904) ; Harry Payne Whitney , New York ; children of Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney (until 1942; to MMA)
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