Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Blessed Ambrogio Sansedoni (1220–1286)

Giovanni di Paolo (Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia) (Italian, Siena 1398–1482 Siena)
Tempera on wood, gold ground
Overall, with engaged frame, 20 5/8 x 7 in. (52.4 x 17.8 cm); painted surface 19 1/4 x 4 7/8 in. (48.9 x 12.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 956
This panel along with two others in the Lehman Collection (1975.1.55 and 1975.1.33) and three in the Department of European Paintings (1997.117.2; 1997.117.3, 32.100.95) belonged to an altarpiece, which may have been commissioned by the guild of the Pizzicaiuoli (purveyors of dry goods) in 1447 for their new chapel in the church of the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena. The present panel and that portraying another standing figure (The Blessed Andrea Gallerani,1975.1.55), formed pilasters of the altarpiece. The Blessed Ambrogio Sansedoni wears a Dominican habit amd holds a book in his left hand, as a dove whispers in his ear. The additional panel in the Lehman Collection and the three in European Paintings comprise a narrative cycle depicting scenes from the life of Catherine of Siena, a fourteenth-century Dominican saint, who was a minister to the poor as well as a mystic. The panels, based on a biography of Saint Catherine written in 1385 by her confessor Raymond of Capua, represent the first complete pictorial cycle of her life. This series may have been produced following Saint Catherine’s canonization in 1461 and added as a predella (base) to a preexisting altarpiece.
Additional panels that are conjecturally associated with the Pizzicaiuoli altarpiece are: the Purification of the Virgin (Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena), Saint Catherine Invested with the Dominican Habit (Cleveland Museum of Art), Saint Catherine and the Beggar (Cleveland Museum of Art), Saint Catherine Dictating Her Dialogues to Raymond of Capua (Detroit Institute of Arts), Saint Catherine before a Pope (Thyssen-Bornemisza Foundation), Death of Saint Catherine (private collection), Crucifixion (Rijksmuseum Het Catharijneconvent, Utrecht, on deposit at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), and pilaster figures representing Saint Galganus and Blessed Peter of Siena(?) (both Aartbischoppilijk Museum, Utrecht).
Spedale della Scala, Siena; J. A. Ramboux, Cologne (until 1867). Acquired by Robert Lehman in Bruges in 1923.
J[ohann]. A[nton]. Ramboux. Katalog der Gemälde alter italienischer Meister (1221–1640) in der Sammlung des Conservator J. A. Ramboux. Cologne, 1862, p. 29, nos. 150-153.

Raimond van Marle. "Italiaansche Schilderkunst." Oudheidkundig Jaarboek (1924), pp. 26-27.

Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. Vol. 9, The Hague, 1929, p. 346.

Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 513.

Cesare Brandi. "Letters." Burlington Magazine, 89 (July 1947), p. 196.

Gertrude Coor. "Quattrocento-Gemälde aus der Sammlung Ramboux." Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch, 21 (1959), pp. 82-86.

The Lehman Collection. Exh. cat., Cincinnati, 1959, no. 38.

St. John Gore. The Art of Painting in Florence & Siena from 1250 to 1500. Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. London, 1965, p. 55, under cat. no. 98.

Elizabeth Ourusoff de Fernandez-Gimenez. "The Life of St. Catherine of Siena." Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, 54 (1967), pp. 103, 108.

Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Central Italian and North Italian Schools. Vol. 1, London, 1968, p. 178.

Henk van Os. Sienese Paintings in Holland. Groningen, 1969, nos. 33, 34.

Millard Meiss. "Giovanni di Paolo's Pizzicaiuolo Altarpiece." The Burlington Magazine, 53 (1971), pp. 289, 297, no. 16.

Katharine Baetjer. Giovanni di Paolo: Paintings. Exh. cat., New York, 1973, no. 10.

Elizabeth Ourusoff De Fernandez-Gimenez in "European Paintings Before 1500." The Cleveland Museum of Art: Catalogue of Paintings. Part 1, Cleveland, 1974, pp. 105-110.

George Szabó. The Robert Lehman Collection: A Guide. New York, 1975, p. 17. Pl. 25.

Piero Torriti. La Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena: I dipinti dal XII al XV secolo. Genoa, 1977, p. 316.

John Pope-Hennessy assisted by Laurence B. Kanter in The Robert Lehman Collection. Vol. 1, Italian Paintings. New York, 1987, pp. 132-134, no. 54.

Keith Christiansen in Painting in Renaissance Siena: 1420–1500. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1988, no. 38m.

Lillian Blauwkuip in The Early Sienese Paintings in Holland. Ed. H. W. van Os et al. Florence, 1989, p. 78, under cat. nos. 16, 17.

Christoph Merzenich in Lust und Verlust. Exh. cat., Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. Cologne, 1995, pp. 305, 311.

Andrew Ladis. "Sources and Resources: The Lost Sketchbooks of Giovanni di Paolo." The Craft of Art: Originality and Industry in the Italian Renaissance and Baroque Workshop. Ed. Andrew Ladis and Carolyn Wood. Athens, Ga., 1995, p. 69.

Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 54.

Janneke Johanna Anje Panders. The Underdrawing of Giovanni di Paolo: Characteristics and Development. Berlin, 1997.

Related Objects

Panel from a polyptych

Date: 14th century Medium: Wood Accession: 1975.1.56b On view in:Gallery 956

Madonna and Child with Two Angels and a Donor

Artist: Giovanni di Paolo (Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia) (Italian, Siena 1398–1482 Siena) Date: ca. 1445 Medium: Tempera on wood, gold ground (partly checkered with modern red glazes) Accession: 41.190.16 On view in:Not on view

Saint Ambrose

Artist: Giovanni di Paolo (Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia) (Italian, Siena 1398–1482 Siena) Date: 1465–70 Medium: Tempera on wood, gold ground Accession: 1975.1.30 On view in:Gallery 956

Coronation of the Virgin

Artist: Giovanni di Paolo (Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia) (Italian, Siena 1398–1482 Siena) Date: ca. 1455 Medium: Tempera on wood, gold ground Accession: 1975.1.38 On view in:Gallery 956

Saint Catherine of Siena Beseeching Christ to Resuscitate Her Mother

Artist: Giovanni di Paolo (Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia) (Italian, Siena 1398–1482 Siena) Date: ca. 1447–65 Medium: Tempera and gold on wood Accession: 1975.1.33 On view in:Gallery 956