Saint John on Patmos, Madonna and Child Enthroned, and Death of the Virgin; The Crucifixion
Pacino di Bonaguida (Italian, active Florence 1302–ca. 1340)
Tempera on wood, gold ground
Left wing 24 3/8 x 16 in. (61.9 x 40.6 cm); right wing 24 3/8 x 15 3/4 in. (61.9 x 40 cm)
Gift of Irma N. Straus, 1964
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 602
The left wing of this diptych shows Saint John the Evanglist on the island of Patmos, the Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints Paul and Francis, and the Death of the Virgin. On the right wing is the Crucifixion, with Saint John the Baptist, the Virgin, Saint Mary Magdalen, Saint John the Evangelist, and a bishop saint.
Pacino was a leading illuminator in Florence, and the pale colors and elegantly patterned textiles in this diptych reflect that activity. This very fine diptych dates from about 1320–25. Although Pacino has clearly studied the work of Giotto, he was a more conservative artist and his figures never aspire to convey a quality of grave majesty.
private collection, Impruneta (sold to Bellini); [Bellini, Florence, until 1924; sold to Straus]; Jesse Isidor Straus, New York (1924–d. 1936); Irma N. Straus, New York (1936–64)
Florence. Palazzo degli Uffizi. "Mostra Giottesca," April–October 1937, no. 131 (as by Pacino di Bonaguida, lent by the Straus collection, New York) [1943 ed., no. 125].
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. "Painting and Illumination in Early Renaissance Florence 1300–1450," November 17, 1994–February 26, 1995, no. 2.
New York. Frick Collection. "Cimabue and Early Italian Devotional Painting," October 3–December 31, 2006, no. 3.
Los Angeles. J. Paul Getty Museum. "Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300–1350," November 13, 2012–February 10, 2013, no. 26.
Toronto. Art Gallery of Ontario. "Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300–1350," March 16–June 16, 2013, no. 26.
Richard Offner Frick Art Reference Library. Lecture. February 1926 [information from FARL photo 703–24 d], describes the diptych, placing the Crucifixion on the left side.
Richard Offner. Studies in Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century. New York, 1927, pp. 8–10, fig. 11 (Crucifixion), details 1, 2, 9, reports it as recently on the Roman art market; attributes it to Pacino di Bonaguida; compares the Crucifixion to the artist's signed polyptych and Tree of Life (both Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence), and to a Crucifix also assigned to him (Santa Felicità, Florence).
Mario Salmi. "Bibliografia." Rivista d'arte 11 (1929), p. 134, accepts Offner's attribution to Pacino [see Ref. 1927].
Richard Offner. A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting. Vol. 2, section 3, The Fourteenth Century. New York, 1930, part I, pp. II, VII, VIII, 5, 16, pls. VI, VI/1, VI/2, VI/3, VI/4 (overall and details); part II, pp. 201, 221, 225, notes elements of Roman and Sienese origin; compares it to three half-length saints (Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence) and a Madonna and Child (Griggs collection, New York) all attributed to Pacino.
Mario Salmi. "Un cimelio artistico della Società Colombaria." Atti della Società Colombaria (1931–32), p. 264 [see Ref. Boskovits 1987], compares it to Pacino's signed polyptych in the Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence.
Mostra Giottesca. Exh. cat., Palazzo degli Uffizi. Bergamo, 1937, p. 49, no. 131, pl. 81, attribute it to Pacino.
Giulia Sinibaldi and Giulia Brunetti, ed. Pittura italiana del duecento e trecento: Catalogo della mostra giottesca di Firenze del 1937. Exh. cat., Galleria degli Uffizi. Florence, 1943, p. 405, no.125, figs. 125 a, b, c (left wing, right wing, and detail), call it one of Pacino's best works.
Pietro Toesca. Il Trecento. Turin, 1951, p. 605 n. 125, disputes the indications of Roman influence given by Offner [see Ref. 1930]
Maria Walcher Casotti. Miniature e miniatori a Venezia nella prima metà del XIV secolo. [Trieste], 1962, p. 25, fig. 31 (Crucifixion), notes that the iconography of angels collecting the blood of Christ in the Crucifixion also appears in miniature painting of the period.
Miklòs Boskovits. "'Giotto born again', Beiträge zu den Quellen Masaccios." Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 29, no. 1 (1966), p. 62, fig. 14 (Crucifixion), finds the figures on the right wing similar to those in the Crucifixion by Masaccio in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples.
Brigitte Klesse. Seidenstoffe in der italienischen Malerei des 14. Jahrhunderts. Bern, 1967, pp. 47, 168, 199, nos. 8, 66, erroneously as in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; illustrates the textile patterns appearing the in Death of the Virgin and the Crucifixion, and identifies similar patterns in other paintings; dates it about 1320.
Wolfgang Kermer. Studien zum Diptychon in der sakralen Malerei. PhD diss., Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Tübingen. [Düsseldorf], 1967, part 2, p. 44, no. 36, figs. 47, 48, erroneously as still in the Straus collection, New York.
Ferdinando Bologna. Novità su Giotto. Turin, 1969, p. 88, compares the Death of the Virgin to a work of the same subject by Giotto in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin.
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, p. 20, ill. pp. 18–19, consider it difficult to determine whether the Crucifixion was originally at the left or right; date it about 1310 and say the style is based on early Giottesque themes and forms seen also in similar Riminese paintings of the period.
Everett Fahy. "Florentine Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum: An Exhibition and a Catalogue." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 29 (June 1971), p. 432, ill., finds it different from Giotto's monumental style; illustrates the diptych with the Crucifixion on the left side.
Alastair Smart. The Assisi Problem and the Art of Giotto. Oxford, 1971, p. 199, erroneously as still in the Straus collection, New York; compares the Saint John the Evangelist to a figure from the frescoes in the church of San Francesco, Assisi
Martin Gosebruch. "Sulla necessita' di colmare la lacuna tra Padova e le cappelle di S. Croce nella biografia artistica di Giotto." Giotto e il suo tempo. Rome, 1971, p. 248, fig. 19 (detail, Death of the Virgin), erroneously as still in the Strauss [sic] collection, New York; compares the Death of the Virgin to a work of the same subject by Giotto in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, and a picture in the Loeser collection, Florence.
Antonio Boschetto, ed. La collezione Roberto Longhi. Florence, 1971, unpaginated, under pl. 3, calls the Crucifixion the left wing of the diptych and compares it to a panel in the Longhi collection.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 153, 291, 307, 318, 395, 412, 420, 438, 456, 609, question the identification of the scene at upper left as Saint John on Patmos.
Miklós Boskovits in Richard Offner et al. A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting. Vol. 9, section 3, The Fourteenth Century: The Painters of the Miniaturist Tendency. new ed. Florence, 1984, p. 51, dates it 1320s and finds the dramatic force of the Crucifixion uncharacteristic of Pacino's previous works.
Maria Grazia Ciardi Duprè Dal Poggetto. "I francescani a Firenze: due antifonari della scuola di Pacino." Studi di storia dell'arte in memoria di Mario Rotili. Vol. 1, Naples, 1984, p. 248, calls it stylistically close to the Tree of Life attributed to Pacino in the Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence; dates it about 1320.
Enza Biagi inLa pittura in Italia: il Duecento e il Trecento. Ed. Enrico Castelnuovo. revised and expanded ed. Milan, 1986, vol. 2, p. 646, mentions it among works attributed to Pacino.
Miklós Boskovits in Richard Offner et al. A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting. Vol. 2, section 3, The Fourteenth Century: Elder Contemporaries of Bernardo Daddi. new ed. Florence, 1987, p. 162, pls. XLVI–XLVIII (overall and details), places the Crucifixion on the right in the text, but illustrates it on the left.
Laurence B. Kanter inPainting and Illumination in Early Renaissance Florence: 1300–1450. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1994, pp. 5, 48–51, no. 2, ill. (color), dates it about 1320–25 following Boskovits [see Ref. 1984]; compares it to a group of works by Pacino from the same period that includes a Life of Christ manuscript (Pierpont Morgan Library, New York), three panels from an altarpiece (Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence), and five predella scenes of the Legend of Saint Proculus (Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Mass).
Holly Flora. Cimabue and Early Italian Devotional Painting. Exh. cat., Frick Collection. New York, 2006, pp. 10, 12, 25, 31–32, 45, no. 3, ill. p. 45 (color) and fig. 18 (color), dates it about 1310; points out that "the gold, arch-shaped back of the Virgin's throne recalls a panel painting and is framed by wings, as though her image on a painted triptych placed on an altar has come to life and a marble, stepped altar has become her throne".
Daniela Parenti inGiovanni da Milano: capolavori del gotico fra Lombardia e Toscana. Ed. Daniela Parenti. Exh. cat., Galleria dell'Accademia. Florence, 2008, p. 200.
Ada Labriola inThe Alana Collection. Ed. Miklós Boskovits. Vol. 1, Italian Paintings from the 13th to 15th Century. Florence, 2009, pp. 162–63 n. 9, fig. 28a (detail), dates it about 1320 or slightly later.
Dillian Gordon. The Italian Paintings Before 1400. London, 2011, p. 40 n. 34, mentions it among examples of small-scale Florentine diptychs and triptychs with the Madonna and Child as a subsidiary scene, often separated from other scenes by a red border.
Christine Sciacca inFlorence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300–1350. Ed. Christine Sciacca. Exh. cat., J. Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles, 2012, pp. 103, 278, 292, 306.
Christopher W. Platts inFlorence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300–1350. Ed. Christine Sciacca. Exh. cat., J. Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles, 2012, pp. 119–22, no. 26, ill. (color).
Christine Sciacca and Yvonne Szafran inFlorence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300–1350. Ed. Christine Sciacca. Exh. cat., J. Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles, 2012, pp. 193, 387.
Alison Manges Nogueira inFlorence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300–1350. Ed. Christine Sciacca. Exh. cat., J. Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles, 2012, p. 197.
Bryan C. Keene inFlorence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300–1350. Ed. Christine Sciacca. Exh. cat., J. Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles, 2012, p. 308.
The left wing (64.189.3a) of this diptych is divided into three scenes. The two in the upper portion show Saint John on Patmos, and the Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints Paul and Francis, while the lower portion depicts the Death of the Virgin. On the right wing (64.189.3b) is the Crucifixion with Saint John the Baptist, the Virgin, Saint Mary Magdalen, Saint John the Evangelist, and a bishop saint.
The only signed work of Pacino di Bonaguida is an altarpiece of the Crucifixion in the Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence, to which the right wing of the MMA diptych has been compared [see Refs. Offner 1927, Salmi 1931–32].