These panels are from an altarpiece painted for a Dominican church in the Marchigian town of Ascoli Piceno. The central panel, a Madonna and Child, signed and dated 1472, is also in the Metropolitan (Linsky Collection). Saint George (fourth century) is shown in contemporary, fifteenth-century armor with the dragon he slew, while Saint Dominic is portrayed in a Dominican habit and holding a lily, a symbol of purity. For a reconstruction of the altarpiece, see metmuseum.org/collections.
Saint George is shown with the dragon legend has it he killed, saving the daughter of the king of Lydia. A Christian tribune in the Roman army, George is fancifully dressed in all’antica armor; his broken lance pierces the dragon’s head. This painting belongs to a polyptych of which the central panel is a Madonna and Child (The Met, 1982.60.5), signed and dated 1472. The central panel was flanked by four standing saints: Nicholas of Bari (Cleveland Museum of Art), James Major (Brooklyn Museum), Dominic (The Met, 05.41.1), and George.
A Pietà in the Philadelphia Museum of Art has sometimes been proposed as coming from the same altarpiece, but in the event that the figures are lit from the right rather than the left, this can be eliminated. Bovero (1975) tentatively identified the altarpiece with one recorded in the convent of San Domenico, Fermo, and Lightbown (2004) gives additional evidence in favor of this provenance.
In 1949 the paint surface, which had a history of flaking, was transferred to another panel. As a result the colors appear somewhat washed out; the underdrawing is visible throughout. The face is damaged. The mail of the saint’s armor was originally silvered.
[Keith Christiansen 2011]
probably church of San Domenico, Fermo (until 1827–28; sold to Cantalamessa); probably Ignazio Cantalamessa, Ancona (from 1827–28; sold in Rome); Cardinal Joseph Fesch, Palazzo Falconieri, Rome (until d. 1839; his estate, 1839–45; inv., 1839, no. 15330; cat., 1841, no. 2235; his estate sale, Palazzo Ricci, Rome, March 24ff., 1845, no. 1779, as School of Carlo Crivelli, for 61 scudi to Bromley); Rev. Walter Davenport Bromley, Wootton Hall, Ashbourne, Derbyshire (1845–d. 1863; his estate sale, Christie's, London, June 12, 1863, no. 66, as by Crivelli, for £109.4.0 to Farrer); [Farrer, London, from 1863]; Louisa, Lady Ashburton, London (by 1871–d. 1903; her estate sale, Christie's, London, July 8, 1905, no. 13, with no. 14 for £1,575 to Colnaghi); [Colnaghi, London, 1905]; [Dowdeswell & Dowdeswell, London and New York, 1905; sold to MMA]
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Winter Exhibition," 1871, no. 291 (as by Carlo Crivelli, lent by Louisa, Lady Ashburton).
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Winter Exhibition," January–March 1884, no. 237 (lent by Louisa, Lady Ashburton).
London. New Gallery. "Venetian Art," 1894–95, no. 86 (lent by Louisa, Lady Ashburton).
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Winter Exhibition," January 4–March 12, 1904, no. 41 (lent by the Marquess of Northampton, the property of the late Louisa, Lady Ashburton).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Temporary Exhibition," April 1906, no. 4.
New York. Wildenstein. "The Italian Heritage," May 17–August 29, 1967, no. 6b.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Venetian Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum," May 1–September 2, 1974, no catalogue.
Budapest. Szépmüvészeti Múzeum. "Botticelli to Titian: Two Centuries of Italian Masterpieces," October 28, 2009–February 14, 2010, no. 43.
Boston. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. "Ornament & Illusion: Carlo Crivelli of Venice," October 22, 2015–January 25, 2016, no. 10.
Baltimore. Walters Art Museum. "A Renaissance Original: Carlo Crivelli," February 28–May 22, 2016, no catalogue.
Posthumous inventory of Cardinal Fesch. September 5–December 12, 1839, fol. 450r, no. 15330 [Archivio di Stato, Rome, Not. Capitol., Ufficio 11, not. Augusto Appolloni, anno 1839, vol. 611, fol. 37r–503v; see Ref. Thiébaut 1987; Getty no. I-1833], with Saint Nicholas (no. 15331; Cleveland Museum of Art), as "Due quadri in tavola alti piedi tre e un sesto, larghi piede uno rappresentante due Santi della maniera di Carlo Crivelli. Scudi sessanta l'uno e cosi in tutto. Scudi cento venti".
Catalogue des tableaux composant la galerie de feu son éminence le cardinal Fesch. Rome, 1841, p. 92, no. 2235, with Saint Nicholas, as "'Deux Saints,' parfaitement bien traités dans le gout de l'école de Carlo Crivelli," 3 pieds 2 pouces high by 1 pied wide.
[Gustav Friedrich] Waagen. Treasures of Art in Great Britain. London, 1854, vol. 3, p. 377, as in the Davenport Bromley collection; attributes this painting and its companion, Saint Dominic (MMA), as well as Saints James (Brooklyn Museum of Art) and Nicholas (Cleveland Museum of Art) from the same altarpiece, to Jacobello del Fiore.
J[oseph]. A[rcher]. Crowe and G[iovanni]. B[attista]. Cavalcaselle. A History of Painting in North Italy: Venice, Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Ferrara, Milan, Friuli, Brescia, from the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century. London, 1871, vol. 1, p. 10 n. 1 (from p. 9), report Waagen's (1854) attribution.
George Redford. Art Sales. London, 1888, vol. 2, p. 227, lists it as having been sold for £109.4 to Farrer at the Davenport Bromley sale of 1863.
Bernhard Berenson. The Venetian Painters of the Renaissance. 3rd ed. New York, 1894, p. 106 [1895 ed., p. 99], as in the collection of Lady Ashburton, London; attributes it to Carlo Crivelli.
G[eorg]. Gronau. "Correspondance d'Angleterre: l'art vénitien à Londres, à propos de l'exposition de la New Gallery." Gazette des beaux-arts, 3rd ser., 13 (February 1895), p. 166, assigns it to Crivelli's middle period.
Bernhard Berenson. Venetian Painting, Chiefly Before Titian, at the Exhibition of Venetian Art. London, , p. 12 [reprinted in "The Study and Criticism of Italian Art," London, 1901, p. 103], calls it later than the Benson Madonna (MMA), dated 1472.
G. M'Neil Rushforth. Carlo Crivelli. reprint, 1908. London, 1900, p. 93.
"Two Panels by Crivelli." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 1 (January 1906), pp. 28–30, ill.
Lionello Venturi. Le origini della pittura veneziana, 1300–1500. Venice, 1907, p. 211.
Elisabeth Luther Cary. "The Galleries: Carlo Crivelli." Scrip 3 (October 1907), pp. 23, 28–30, ill. opp. p. 8.
Morton H. Bernath. New York und Boston. Leipzig, 1912, p. 76.
J[oseph]. A[rcher]. Crowe and G[iovanni]. B[attista]. Cavalcaselle. A History of Painting in North Italy: Venice, Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Ferrara, Milan, Friuli, Brescia, from the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century. Ed. Tancred Borenius. 2nd ed. [1st ed. 1871]. London, 1912, vol. 1, p. 95 n., Borenius mentions it.
B. Geiger inAllgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Vol. 8, Leipzig, 1913, p. 132, lists it among unsigned works and school pieces.
A[dolfo]. Venturi. "La pittura del Quattrocento." Storia dell'arte italiana. Vol. 7, part 3, Milan, 1914, p. 394 n. 1.
Laudedeo Testi. La storia della pittura veneziana. Vol. 2, Il divenire. Bergamo, 1915, p. 688.
Bernhard Berenson. "Venetian Paintings in the United States: Part Two." Art in America 3 (April 1915), p. 117 [reprinted in Bernard Berenson, "Venetian Painting in America: The Fifteenth Century," New York, 1916, pp. 21–22], dates it about 1488.
Franz Drey. Carlo Crivelli und seine Schule. Munich, 1927, p. 73 n. 1, p. 141, pl. LXI.
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 162.
Lionello Venturi. Italian Paintings in America. Vol. 2, Fifteenth Century Renaissance. New York, 1933, unpaginated, pl. 365, states that this picture, Saint Dominic (MMA), and Saint James (Brooklyn Museum of Art) all formed part of the same altarpiece as the Madonna dated 1472 (MMA).
Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 139.
Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. Vol. 18, The Renaissance Painters of Venice. The Hague, 1936, p. 60.
Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, pp. 178–79, ill., adds the panel depicting Saint Nicholas (Cleveland Museum of Art) to the 1472 polyptych.
Henry S. Francis. "'St. Nicholas' by Carlo Crivelli." Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 39 (September 1952), pp. 187–89, publishes the panel depicting Saint Nicholas of Bari and tentatively accepts the connection with the 1472 polyptych.
Pietro Zampetti. Carlo Crivelli nelle Marche. Urbino, 1952, p. 68, no. 77.
Federico Zeri. "Il Maestro della Annunciazione Gardner." Bollettino d'arte 38 (July–September 1953), p. 241, accepts the reconstruction of the 1472 polyptych.
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School. London, 1957, vol. 1, p. 70, pl. 137 (reconstruction), accepts the reconstruction of the 1472 polyptych.
Rodolfo Pallucchini. La pittura veneta del Quattrocento. Vol. 2, Padua, 1957–58, p. 17 [see Refs. Zeri and Gardner 1973 and Zampetti 1986].
Federico Zeri. "Cinque schede per Carlo Crivelli." Arte antica e moderna no. 13/16 (1961), p. 162.
Rodolfo Pallucchini. "Carlo Crivelli in Palazzo Ducale." Pantheon 19 (November–December 1961), p. 274.
Pietro Zampetti. Carlo Crivelli. Milan, 1961, pp. 75–77, figs. 24 (reconstruction), 28, tentatively adds five predella panels and a Deposition (or Pietà; Johnson collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art) to the 1472 altarpiece.
Anna Bovero. Tutta la pittura del Crivelli. Milan, 1961, pp. 59–60, pls. 28A, 30 (detail), sees connections with Liberale da Verona's illuminations in the cathedral of Siena and with the Saint Michael in Giambono's polyptych of Saint James in the Accademia in Venice.
Barbara Sweeny. John G. Johnson Collection: Catalogue of Italian Paintings. Philadelphia, 1966, p. 25, under no. 158, accepts the expanded reconstruction of the 1472 polyptych, including the Philadelphia Pietà and the five predella panels; mistakenly cites Zeri [see Ref. 1961] as associating the Philadelphia Pietà with this polyptych.
Fern Rusk Shapley. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Vol. 2, Italian Schools: XV–XVI Century. London, 1968, p. 35, accepts the expanded reconstruction of the polyptych.
Pietro Zampetti. La pittura marchigiana da Gentile a Raffaello. [Milan], [1970?], p. 182.
Denys Sutton, ed. Letters of Roger Fry. New York, 1972, vol. 1, pp. 25–26, 255 n. 1 to letter no. 177 (March 2, 1906), lists it among works included in the 1906 exhibition.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 60, 400, 605.
Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Venetian School. New York, 1973, pp. 21–22, pl. 20.
Elizabeth Ourusoff De Fernandez-Gimenez in "European Paintings Before 1500." The Cleveland Museum of Art: Catalogue of Paintings. Part 1, Cleveland, 1974, pp. 68–69, under no. 26, fig. 26a (reconstruction).
Anna Bovero. L'opera completa del Crivelli. Milan, 1975, pp. 83, 88–89, no. 50, ill., states that the altarpiece must have been made for a Dominican church, and suggests the convent of San Domenico, Fermo, noting that a Madonna with two saints is recorded as having been sold from there shortly before 1834.
David Robertson. Sir Charles Eastlake and the Victorian Art World. Princeton, 1978, p. 223.
Audrey Flack. "On Carlo Crivelli." Arts Magazine 55 (June 1981), ill. p. 94.
Keith Christiansen inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1983–1984. New York, 1984, p. 46.
Keith Christiansen inThe Jack and Belle Linsky Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1984, pp. 30–31, under no. 5, believes that neither the Philadelphia Pietà nor the five predella panels belong to the 1472 altarpiece; rejects the identification of the 1472 altarpiece with the one sold from San Domenico, Fermo; thinks the correct order of the four flanking panels is, left to right, Saints Nicholas, James, George, and Dominic.
John Pope-Hennessy. "Roger Fry and The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Oxford, China, and Italy: Writings in Honour of Sir Harold Acton on his Eightieth Birthday. Ed. Edward Chaney and Neil Ritchie. London, 1984, p. 234.
Pietro Zampetti. Carlo Crivelli. Florence, 1986, p. 260, pl. 14 (reconstruction), colorpl. 19, ill. pp. 85 (color detail), 258 (reconstruction), 260, agrees with Bovero [see Ref. 1975] that the provenance could be San Domenico, Fermo.
Dominique Thiébaut. Ajaccio, musée Fesch: les primitifs italiens. Paris, 1987, p. 181, ill., quotes from the Fesch inventory of 1839 [see Ref.]; gives the purchase price at the Fesch sale of 1845 as 61 scudi.
Important Old Master Pictures. Christie's, London. May 24, 1991, p. 61, fig. a, illustrates a watercolor by James Johnson of about 1850 showing this work hanging on the wall of Walter Davenport Bromley's drawing room at Wootton Hall.
Stefano Papetti inVittore Crivelli e la pittura del suo tempo nel Fermano. Ed. Stefano Papetti. Milan, 1997, pp. 56, 68 n. 11, identifies the 1472 polyptych with an altarpiece by Carlo Crivelli bought by Ignazio Cantalamessa from the Dominicans in Fermo on May 26, 1831 for 50 scudi.
Cecilia Prete inPittura veneta nelle Marche. Ed. Valter Curzi. Cinisello Balsamo (Milan), 2000, pp. 343–44, 349 n. 152, fig. 28 (color), tentatively agrees with Papetti [see Ref. 1997] in identifying the 1472 altarpiece with the work bought by Cantalamessa from the Dominican convent in Fermo.
Valter Curzi inPittura veneta nelle Marche. Ed. Valter Curzi. Cinisello Balsamo (Milan), 2000, pp. 307, 320 n. 4.
Ronald Lightbown. Carlo Crivelli. New Haven, 2004, pp. 127–28, 131, 135–36, pl. 36, states that the altarpiece to which the five panels belong was painted for San Domenico, Fermo, probably for a secondary altar; rejects the association with the Philadelphia Pietà.
Costanza Costanzi inLe Marche disperse: repertorio di opere d'arte dalle Marche al mondo. Ed. Costanza Costanzi. Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, 2005, pp. 142–45, no. 115b, ill., tentatively accepts the Philadelphia "Pietà" and the five predella panels proposed by Zampetti (1961, 1986) as part of the altarpiece.
Stefano Papetti inLe Marche disperse: repertorio di opere d'arte dalle Marche al mondo. Ed. Costanza Costanzi. Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, 2005, p. 145, under no. 121, adds a sixth panel of an apostle (private collection, Paris) to the predella proposed by Zampetti (1961, 1986).
Anna Maria Ambrosini Massari. "Dotti amici": Amico Ricci e la nascita della storia dell'arte nelle Marche. Ancona, 2007, pp. LXXXVII–LXXXVIII, cites the letter (Biblioteca Comunale, Macerata, Ms 1069, c. 1037/97; see also Papetti 1997) from Alessandro Maggiori to Amico Ricci in which Maggiori mentions the recent sale of a Crivelli altarpiece by the friars of San Domenico, Fermo, for fifty scudi to Cantalamessa.
Lisa Monnas. Merchants, Princes and Painters: Silk Fabrics in Italian and Northern Paintings, 1300–1550. New Haven, 2008, pp. 171, 359 n. 132.
Vilmos Tátrai inBotticelli to Titian: Two Centuries of Italian Masterpieces. Ed. Dóra Sallay et al. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest. Budapest, 2009, p. 202.
Matteo Mazzalupi inBotticelli to Titian: Two Centuries of Italian Masterpieces. Ed. Dóra Sallay et al. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest. Budapest, 2009, pp. 212–13, no. 43, ill. (color).
Francesca Coltrinari. "Note e precisazioni sulla prima attività di Carlo Crivelli nelle Marche." Incontri 1 (2011), pp. 150, 159–63, follows Zampetti (1961, 1986) in believing the altarpiece included an upper register and a predella.
Stefano Papetti. Crivelli ritrovato: due pannelli dal Museo del Castello di Milano. Exh. brochure, Pinacoteca Civica. Ascoli Piceno, 2014, unpaginated, ill. (color, reconstruction), reconstructs the altarpiece with an upper register and a predella (see Zampetti 1961, 1986).
Mauro Minardi inThe Alana Collection. Ed. Sonia Chiodo and Serena Padovani. Vol. 3, Italian Paintings from the 14th to 16th Century. Florence, 2014, p. 65 n. 14.
Oliver Tostmann inOrnament & Illusion: Carlo Crivelli of Venice. Ed. Stephen J. Campbell. Exh. cat., Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Boston, 2015, pp. 128, 131 n. 86.
Francesco De Carolis inOrnament & Illusion: Carlo Crivelli of Venice. Ed. Stephen J. Campbell. Exh. cat., Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Boston, 2015, pp. 104, 107, 164–65, 167–69, 171–73, no. 10, fig. 81 (reconstruction, color), ill. pp. 169, 172 (color, overall and detail), believes that the altarpiece was limited to the five main panels; mentions a list (Biblioteca Comunale di Ascoli Piceno; Catalogo dei monumenti fuori città, MS Gabrielli, no. 14, c. 15v.) transcribed by Giulio Gabrielli from one drawn up by Cantalamessa which records, at no. 26, five heavily damaged panels by Carlo Crivelli from San Domenico, Fermo, sold for thirty scudi each; identifies these five panels as those bought by Fesch.
Stephen J. Campbell inOrnament & Illusion: Carlo Crivelli of Venice. Ed. Stephen J. Campbell. Exh. cat., Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Boston, 2015, p. 18.