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)
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
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.