Luca di Tommè di Nuto (Italian, Sienese, active 1356–89)
Tempera on wood, transferred from wood, gold ground
Shaped top, 52 7/8 x 23 1/8 in. (134.3 x 58.7 cm)
Gift of George Blumenthal, 1941
Not on view
The picture dates from about 1360–65, when Luca di Tomme is known to have collaborated with the miniaturist, Niccolò di Ser Sozzo. This was his most inventive period and the present picture, the center panel of an unidentified altarpiece, is one of his more distinguished works. Although there are no major losses, the character of the picture has been greatly marred by flattening due to its transfer and harsh cleaning.
Inscription: Inscribed (on scroll): EGO·SVM·VIA·VERI[TAS ET VITA] (I am the way, the truth, [and the life] [John 14:6].)
[Stefano Bardini, Florence, until 1919]; George Blumenthal, New York (by 1920–41; cat., vol. 1, 1926, pl. XXIII)
Northampton, Mass. Smith College Museum of Art. "The Nativity," December 1–21, 1947, no catalogue.
San Diego. Timken Museum of Art. "Art and Devotion in Siena after 1350: Luca di Tommè and Niccolò di Buonaccorso," December 12, 1997–April 12, 1998, unnumbered cat. (pl. 9).
F. Mason Perkins. "Some Sienese Paintings in American Collections: Part Two." Art in America 8 (October 1920), pp. 287–88, 291, ill. p. 285, as in the collection of George and Florence Blumenthal, New York; attributes it to Luca di Tommè, noting that it had been ascribed to Bartolo di Fredi; states that it was originally the main compartment of a large triptych; compares it with an altarpiece in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena (no. 51), at that time officially attributed to Lippo Memmi although also considered a work of Bartolo di Fredi, stating that the two pictures must be by the same artist.
Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. Vol. 2, The Sienese School of the 14th Century. The Hague, 1924, p. 472, notes the influence of Lorenzetti, and compares it with two panels then in the Platt collection, Englewood, New Jersey.
F. Mason Perkins. "Altre pitture di Luca di Tommé [sic]." Rassegna d'arte senese 17, nos. 1–2 (1924), p. 14.
Stella Rubinstein-Bloch. Catalogue of the Collection of George and Florence Blumenthal. Vol. 1, Paintings—Early Schools. Paris, 1926, unpaginated, pl. XXIII.
Helen Comstock. "Luca di Tommè in American Collections." International Studio 89 (1928), pp. 57, 60–62, ill.
[F. Mason] Perkins inAllgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Hans Vollmer. Vol. 23, Leipzig, 1929, p. 427, as an early work.
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 313.
Cesare Brandi. "Niccolò di Ser Sozzo Tegliacci." L'arte, n.s., 3 (May 1932), p. 234 n. 1, includes it with paintings dating from about the time of Luca's collaboration with Niccolò di Ser Sozzo.
Raimond van Marle. Le scuole della pittura italiana. Vol. 2, La scuola senese del XIV secolo. The Hague, 1934, p. 520.
Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 269.
Brigitte Klesse. Seidenstoffe in der italienischen Malerei des 14. Jahrhunderts. Bern, 1967, p. 408, no. 395a, dates it to the 1370s or 1380s; relates the textile patterns to those found in the artist's Madonna of 1370 (Museo Civico, Rieti).
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Central Italian and North Italian Schools. London, 1968, vol. 1, p. 225; vol. 2, pl. 371, calls it the central panel of a polyptych and illustrates it flanked by panels depicting Saint Stephen (Galleria di Palazzo Mozzi Bardini, Florence) and Saint John the Baptist (Museo Bardini, Florence).
Sherwood A. Fehm Jr. "Luca di Tommè." PhD diss., Yale University, New Haven, Conn., 1970, vol. 1, p. 80 n. 71, pp. 87–89, cat., p. 15, no. 13, appendix IV, p. 86; vol. 2, pl. 30, rejects Laclotte's attribution to Niccolò di Ser Sozzo [see Ref. 1957], although noting that the picture does reveal Niccolò's strong influence on Luca; compares it with the altarpiece signed by both Niccolò and Luca and dated 1362 (Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena; no. 51); dates the MMA work between 1363 and 1365.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 113, 318, 608.
Sherwood A. Fehm Jr. The Collaboration of Niccolò Tegliacci and Luca di Tommè. [Malibu], 1973, p. 31 n. 35.
Sherwood A. Fehm Jr. "Luca di Tommè's Influence on Three Sienese Masters: The Master of the Magdalen Legend, the Master of the Panzano Triptych, and the Master of the Pietà." Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 20, no. 3 (1976), p. 333 n. 2, p. 348 n. 32.
Cristina De Benedictis. La pittura senese, 1330–1370. Florence, 1979, p. 88, calls it the center of a polyptych.
Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sienese and Central Italian Schools. New York, 1980, pp. 32–33, pl. 23, date it probably between 1360 and 1365, noting the influence of Niccolò di Ser Sozzo.
Cristina De Benedictis inIl Museo Bardini a Firenze. Milan, 1984, vol. 1, pp. 125, 227, proposes that it was originally the center of an altarpiece flanked on the left by a Saint Stephen (Galleria di Palazzo Mozzi Bardini, Florence) and on the right by a Saint John the Baptist (Museo Bardini, Florence); dates this altarpiece 1370–80; identifies Stefano Bardini as the owner of all three panels until he received export licenses for the Saint Stephen and the Madonna and Child, in 1918 and 1919 respectively [the Saint Stephen was evidently not exported, since it was included in the Bardini estate; see Ref. Berenson 1968, where these three pictures are reproduced together].
Sherwood A. Fehm Jr. Luca di Tommè: A Sienese Fourteenth-Century Painter. Carbondale, 1986, pp. 24, 84, no. 14, ill., dates it about 1362–65 and calls it the central panel of a polyptych, but is unaware of De Benedictis's [see Ref. 1984] identification of the two flanking panels, both of which he dates 1374–90.
Erling S. Skaug. Punch Marks from Giotto to Fra Angelico: Attribution, Chronology, and Workshop Relationships in Tuscan Panel Painting. Oslo, 1994, vol. 1, p. 244, 246–47; vol. 2, punch chart 7.11, figs. 26b, 117i, 355ii, 402iii, 706i (details of punch marks), based on the technical evidence of the punch marks, dates it before 1362.
Pia Palladino. Art and Devotion in Siena after 1350: Luca di Tommè and Niccolò di Buonaccorso. Exh. cat., Timken Museum of Art. San Diego, 1997, pp. 46, 76 n. 80, p. 79, colorpl. 9, dates it about 1362.
Mojmír S. Frinta. "Part I: Catalogue Raisonné of All Punch Shapes." Punched Decoration on Late Medieval Panel and Miniature Painting. Prague, 1998, pp. 226, 323, 354, 416, 438, 453, 536, 544, ill. pp. 226, 323, 536, 544 (details of punch marks), attributes it to Niccolò di Ser Sozzo and Luca di Tommè; classifies the punch marks appearing in this painting, identifying one as a modern imitation by Federico Joni.
Mario Scalini inOspiti inattesi: opere inedite o poco note dalla Raccolta Statale Bardini. Ed. Mario Scalini and Gian Piero Cammarota. Exh. cat., Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna. Cinisello Balsamo (Milan), 2006, pp. 29–33, fig. 1 (reconstruction), illustrates the proposed reconstruction of a polyptych, with the MMA panel at center, flanked by figures of Saints Paul and Peter (both Galleria di Palazzo Mozzi Bardini, Florence), and Saints Stephen and John the Baptist on the outer ends; although reproducing the MMA panel, states that the central panel of the polyptych was more probably a Madonna and Child in the Museo de Arte de Ponce (64.0270); attributes the work to Luca di Tommè and identifies it with a polyptych commissioned by the Biccherna in 1374, suggesting that it may also have been the altarpiece of the Dragomanni chapel in the church of San Domenico, Arezzo.
Ilaria Taddei inOspiti inattesi: opere inedite o poco note dalla Raccolta Statale Bardini. Ed. Mario Scalini and Gian Piero Cammarota. Exh. cat., Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna. Cinisello Balsamo (Milan), 2006, p. 38, under no. 1a, p. 40, under nos. 2a–3a, calls Berenson's [see Ref. 1968] reconstruction problematic.
Gabriele Fattorini. "Luca di Tommè, Sano di Pietro e due polittici per la chiesa di San Giovanni Battista all'Abbadia Nuova di Siena." Prospettiva nos. 126–27 (April–July 2007), p. 74.
This panel was the center of an unidentified altarpiece. Cristina De Benedictis (1984) has proposed two panels as companions to the MMA work: a Saint Stephen (Galleria di Palazzo Mozzi Bardini, Florence), which would have flanked it on the left, and a Saint John the Baptist (Museo Bardini, Florence), which would have flanked it on the right. Both these panels come from the collection of Stefano Bardini, as does the MMA work. Berenson (1968) illustrates the three panels together, but does not connect them in his text. Sherwood Fehm (1986), unaware of De Benedictis's proposal, dates the MMA work about 1362–65 and the two panels of saints 1374–90.
Mario Scalini (2006) adds two more panels to the polyptych—Saints Paul and Peter (both Galleria di Palazzo Mozzi Bardini, Florence)—but believes that the central panel was probably a Madonna and Child in the Museo de Arte de Ponce (64.0270).
This painting shows the influence of Niccolò di Ser Sozzo (d. 1363), with whom Luca di Tommè is known to have collaborated. An altarpiece in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena (no. 51), is dated 1362 and signed with both artists' names.