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The Resurrection

Perugino (Pietro di Cristoforo Vannucci) (Italian, Città della Pieve, active by 1469–died 1523 Fontignano)

Tempera on wood
10 5/8 x 18 in. (27 x 45.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Frederick C. Hewitt Fund, 1911
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    This exceptionally well-preserved picture and four others in the Art Institute of Chicago formed the base (predella) of an altarpiece—possibly the large Crucifixion in the church of Sant'Agostino, Siena. In 1502 a contract was signed with Perugino, who had been recommended as "the best painter in Italy." An attractive feature of the present picture is the feigned frame lit from the left.

  • Catalogue Entry

    This delicately painted and beautifully calibrated depiction of the Resurrection of Christ formed the predella, or base, of an altarpiece together with four other pictures in the Art Institute of Chicago: the Nativity, the Baptism of Christ, Christ and the Samaritan, and the Noli me tangere (Christ and Mary Magdalen in the garden following the Resurrection). Each scene is framed by a fictive molding; those in Chicago have been transferred to canvas and are less well preserved than the panel in the MMA. The predella had been identified with various altarpieces, including the large, double-sided one for the church of the Santissima Annunziata, two panels of which are in the MMA (1981.293.1–2). Alternatively, Christiansen (1983) suggested that the series could be associated with an altarpiece of the Crucifixion commissioned for the Chigi chapel in the church of Sant’Agostino in Siena. On 7 November 1500 the banker Agostino Chigi wrote from Rome to his father in Siena, "concerning the chapel, I have seen your intentions . . . if the Perugian [artist] with whom you say you have spoken is master Pietro Perugino, I can say of your wishing to have [the work] done by him, that he is the best painter in Italy" (Scarpellini 1984, p. 62). Two years later, on 4 August 1502, Agostino Chigi’s cousin, Cristofano di Benedetto Chigi, signed a contract with Perugino on behalf of Mariano. The contract specified the subject of the main panel (a Crucifixion with Mary, John the Evangelist, and John the Baptist, and Saints Jerome, Monica, and Augustine) and a historiated predella, subject not indicated. The fee was to be 200 gold ducats. The altarpiece was finished by June 1506 (Ferino Pagden 1985, p. 62). The main panel of that altarpiece is still in the church of Sant’Agostino and measures 436 x 287 cm. The combined width of the five surviving scenes is 220 cm, so there was adequate space for them—or indeed for an even wider predella. Although it has been objected that the Sant’Agostino altarpiece was surmounted by a terracotta statue of the resurrected Christ, mentioned in 1575/77, and that it is therefore unlikely for the Resurrection to have been shown in the predella, which, moreover, may have had upwards of seven scenes (Ferino Pagden 1985, pp. 65–66), these observations seem insufficient for excluding the Chicago-MMA series from consideration. In the first place, they can only have been suitable for an altarpiece of the Crucifixion—the key event not shown in the series. Moreover, Mancini (2004) has noted that copies of the predella were kept by the Chigi and that one of these scenes showed, in fact, "La Resurretione di Christo alta p[al]mi 1 in circa longo p[al]mi 1 1/2 in circa senza cornice copia del Perugino". This would be equivalent to 22.34 x 33.51 cm. Given that the measurements were approximate, the predella scene in question could well have been a copy of the MMA panel. Mancini also notes a reference to another scene of the twelve-year-old Christ among the rabbis that could have come from the same predella.

    What seems clear is that the Chicago-MMA series, notable for the loose brushwork and delicate coloring, dates from the first years of the sixteenth century. The series was certainly known to the Florentine painter Bachiacca, by whom there is a painting in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon, that depends on the MMA Resurrection (La France 2008).


  • Provenance

    Alexander Barker, London (by 1852–at least 1866); William Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley, London (by 1868–d. 1885; his estate, 1885–92; his estate sale, Christie's, London, June 25, 1892, no. 78, for £273, to Agnew for White); Frederick Anthony White, London (1892–1911); [R. Langton Douglas, London, 1911; sold to MMA]

  • Exhibition History

    London. British Institution. 1852, no. 41 (as by Perugino, lent by Alexander Barker, Esq.).

    Manchester. Art Treasures Palace. "Art Treasures of the United Kingdom," May 5–October 17, 1857, no. 86 (listed as by Perugino, but with the comment "Attributed to Raffaelle," lent by Alexander Barker, Esq.).

    Leeds City Museum. "National Exhibition of Works of Art," 1868, no. 2908 (lent by the Earl Dudley).

    London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Winter Exhibition," 1871, no. 311 (lent by the Earl of Dudley).

    London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Winter Exhibition," January–March 1892, no. 154 (lent by the Earl of Dudley).

    London. New Gallery. "Exhibition of Early Italian Art from 1300 to 1550," 1893–94, no. 174 (lent by F. A. White, Esq.).

    Burlington Fine Arts Club. "Pictures of the Umbrian School," 1909, no. 20 (lent by Frederick Anthony White, Esq.).

    Richmond. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. January 21–April 21, 1948, no catalogue?

    Trenton. New Jersey State Museum. March 25–April 15, 1956, no catalogue?

    Grand Rapids, Mich. Grand Rapids Art Museum. "Pietro Perugino: Master of the Italian Renaissance," November 16, 1997–February 1, 1998, no. 1d.

    Perugia. Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria. "Perugino: il divin pittore," February 28–July 18, 2004, no. I.48d.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Raphael at the Metropolitan: The Colonna Altarpiece," June 20–September 4, 2006, no. 23.

  • References

    W. Burger [Théophile Thoré]. Trésors d'art exposés à Manchester en 1857. Paris, 1857, pp. 34–35 [reprinted as "Trésors d'art en Angleterre," Brussels, 1860, with same pagination], attributes it to Perugino and notes its similarity to the altarpiece in the Pinacoteca Vaticana.

    J[oseph]. A[rcher]. Crowe and G[iovanni]. B[attista]. Cavalcaselle. A History of Painting in Italy from the Second to the Fourteenth Century. 3, London, 1866, pp. 250–51, as in the collection of Alexander Barker, London; lists it with the four scenes now in the Art Institute of Chicago as a predella by Perugino; relates the MMA work to the predella panels of the same subject in the Musée des Beaux-Art, Rouen, and the Alte Pinakothek, Munich, and to the altarpiece in the Vatican.

    George C. Williamson. Pietro Vannucci, called Perugino. London, 1900, pp. 125–26, as in the collection of F. A. White; attributes it to Perugino.

    Bernhard Berenson. The Central Italian Painters of the Renaissance. 2nd ed., rev. and enl. New York, 1909, p. 220, as in the collection of F. A. White; attributes it to Perugino.

    Umberto Gnoli. "La pittura umbra alla mostra del Burlington Club." Rassegna d'arte umbra 1 (May 15, 1910), pp. 50–51, attributes it to Perugino's workshop.

    B[ryson]. B[urroughs]. "A Painting by Perugino." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 6 (June 1911), pp. 130–31, ill., attributes it to Perugino and calls it part of a predella together with the four Chicago scenes.

    A[dolfo]. Venturi. "La pittura del quattrocento." Storia dell'arte italiana. 7, part 2, Milan, 1913, p. 566 n. 1, attributes it to Andrea d'Assisi.

    Walter Bombe. Perugino, des Meisters Gemälde. Stuttgart, 1914, p. 256, ill. p. 231, includes it among "doubtful and wrongly attributed pictures".

    J[oseph]. A[rcher]. Crowe and G[iovanni]. B[attista]. Cavalcaselle. "Umbrian and Sienese Masters of the Fifteenth Century." A History of Painting in Italy: Umbria, Florence and Siena from the Second to the Sixteenth Century. 5, London, 1914, p. 365, Borenius erroneously lists all five predella scenes as at the Metropolitan Museum.

    Umberto Gnoli. Pietro Perugino. Spoleto, [1923], p. 56, pl. XLVIII, dates it about 1515; in addition to the related pictures in Munich, Rouen, and the Vatican, erroneously mentions a fourth in the Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria, Perugia.

    Umberto Gnoli. Pittori e miniatori nell'Umbria. Spoleto, 1923, p. 274, lists it as by Perugino; erroneously as still in the collection of F. A. White.

    Arthur McComb. "Francesco Ubertini (Bacchiacca)." Art Bulletin 8 (March 1926), pp. 150, 153, fig. 3, attributes it to Perugino; notes that Bacchiacca borrowed the composition for his Resurrection of about 1521 in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon; believes that the New York, Dijon, Rouen, and Munich pictures all derive from a common source.

    Fiorenzo Canuti. Il Perugino. Siena, 1931, vol. 2, p. 363, lists it among paintings of Perugino's school and works doubtfully attributed to him; erroneously locates this picture still in the White collection and the other four scenes of the predella in the Metropolitan Museum.

    Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 438.

    Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. 14, The Hague, 1933, p. 406, attributes it to Perugino's workshop; states that it belongs to the same series as the four Chicago scenes.

    Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 376.

    Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, pp. 115–16, ill.

    Edoardo Arslan. Letter. April 21, 1952, attributes it to Perugino and calls it close in style and date to the Senigallia altarpiece.

    K. T. Parker. "Italian Schools." Catalogue of the Collection of Drawings in the Ashmolean Museum. 2, Oxford, 1956, p. 21, under no. 31, relates a drawing of Christ and the Woman of Samaria to the painting of the same subject in Chicago, and attributes the four Chicago scenes and the MMA panel to Perugino, dating them to his last period.

    Luisa Marcucci. "Contributo al Bachiacca [sic]." Bollettino d'arte 43 (January–March 1958), p. 32, calls it an early work by Perugino.

    Ettore Camesasca. Tutta la pittura del Perugino. Milan, 1959, pp. 102, 112–13, pl. 171, attributes it to Perugino and dates it between 1500 and 1505; rejects the connection with the four Chicago scenes, which he considers parts of another predella from later in the artist's career.

    Federico Zeri. "Appunti sul Lindenau-Museum di Altenburg." Bollettino d'arte 49 (January–March 1964), p. 52, tentatively suggests that the five scenes divided between the MMA and Chicago may have formed the predella of the main altarpiece of the church of Santissima Annunziata, Florence.

    Michel Laclotte in Le XVIe siècle européen: peintures et dessins dans les collections publiques françaises. Exh. cat., Petit Palais. Paris, 1965, p. 14, under no. 18, remarks that the five scenes must have formed the predella of a major Florentine altarpiece, perhaps that in Santissima Annunziata [see Ref. Zeri 1964], since Bacchiacca must have seen the MMA work in Florence in order to borrow the composition for his own Resurrection (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon) [see Ref. McComb 1926].

    Lada Nikolenko. Francesco Ubertini called "Il Bacchiacca". Locust Valley, N.Y., 1966, p. 35.

    Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Central Italian and North Italian Schools. London, 1968, vol. 1, p. 329, calls it a late work by Perugino.

    Ettore Camesasca in L'opera completa del Perugino. Milan, 1969, p. 106, no. 85, ill., repeats his opinions from Ref. 1959.

    Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 161, 298, 606.

    Denys Sutton. "Robert Langton Douglas, Part II, XIII: A Lawyer from Philadelphia." Apollo 109 (May 1979), p. 390, fig. 8, notes that Douglas offered it to John G. Johnson of Philadelphia before selling it to the MMA.

    Marguerite Guillaume. Catalogue raisonné du Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon: Peintures italiennes. Dijon, 1980, p. 5, under no. 8.

    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. 59–61, pl. 68, date the five scenes about 1503–5 and state that they probably composed the predella of an altarpiece in a Florentine church, possibly Santissima Annunziata [see Refs. Zeri 1964 and Laclotte 1965].

    Keith Christiansen. "Early Renaissance Narrative Painting in Italy." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 41 (Fall 1983), pp. 31–32, fig. 24 (color), suggests that it may have formed part of the predella of Perugino's altarpiece for the church of Sant'Agostino, Siena, commissioned in 1502.

    Pietro Scarpellini. Perugino. Milan, 1984, pp. 52, 113–14, 127, no. 143, fig. 238.

    Sylvia Ferino Pagden in Die Kirchen von Siena. Part 1, 1, Munich, 1985, p. 66, rejects the association of the five scenes with the Chigi altar in the church of Sant'Agostino, stating that it would be unlikely for the predella of that altarpiece to include the Resurrection, which was already depicted in terracotta as part of the framework of the altarpiece.

    Filippo Todini. La pittura umbra dal Duecento al primo Cinquecento. Milan, 1989, vol. 1, pp. 264, 268; vol. 2, pl. 1171, connects it with the four predella scenes in Chicago.

    Christopher Lloyd. Italian Paintings before 1600 in the Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Collection. Chicago, 1993, pp. 191, 194–96, fig. 1, expresses reservations in identifying the five predella scenes with the altarpiece for either Santissima Annunziata in Florence or Sant'Agostino in Siena; accepts a date of shortly after 1500 for the series.

    Joseph Antenucci Becherer. Pietro Perugino: Master of the Italian Renaissance. Exh. cat., Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, Mich. New York, 1997, pp. 114, 123 n. 34, pp. 128–29, 133–37, 178, no. 1d, ill. (color), dates the five scenes 1500–1505; notes that they have been linked to both the Santissima Annunziata altarpiece and the Sant'Agostino altarpiece.

    Marilyn Bradshaw in Joseph Antenucci Becherer. Pietro Perugino: Master of the Italian Renaissance. Exh. cat., Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, Mich. New York, 1997, pp. 284–85, 291, notes that the five predella scenes have been linked with both the Santissima Annunziata altarpiece and the Sant'Agostino altarpiece.

    Vittoria Garibaldi in Joseph Antenucci Becherer. Pietro Perugino: Master of the Italian Renaissance. Exh. cat., Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, Mich. New York, 1997, pp. 13–14, states that the five scenes formed the predella of the Santissima Annunziata altarpiece.

    Vittoria Garibaldi. Perugino. Florence, 1997, fig. 84 (color), in the text, states that the four Chicago scenes may possibly come from the Santissima Annunziata altarpiece, without specifically mentioning the MMA panel; in the captions for the illustrations of all five works, definitely identifies them as parts of the predella of that altarpiece.

    Vittoria Garibaldi. Perugino, catalogo completo. Florence, 1999, pp. 139–40, no. 73, ill., dates the five scenes 1506–7 and states that they are thought to come from either the Sant'Agostino altarpiece or the Santissima Annunziata altarpiece.

    Christa Gardner von Teuffel. "La pala d'altare maggiore di Perugino per San Pietro a Perugia: struttura, collocazione e programma." Pietro Vannucci, il Perugino. Perugia, 2004, p. 355, fig. 26 (color).

    Francesco Federico Mancini in Perugino: il divin pittore. Exh. cat., Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria, Perugia. Cinisello Balsamo (Milan), 2004, p. 274, no. I.48d, ill. p. 277 (color).

    Elizabeth A. Pergam. "From Manchester to Manhattan: The Transatlantic Art Trade After 1857." Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 87, no. 2 (2005), pp. 74, 85, 89.

    Linda Wolk-Simon. "Raphael at the Metropolitan: The Colonna Altarpiece." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 63 (Spring 2006), pp. 70–71, no. 23, ill. (color), relates the figure of Christ to drawings of the same subject by Raphael of about 1501–2 (Biblioteca Oliveriana, Pesaro).

    Robert G. La France. Bachiacca: Artist of the Medici Court. Florence, 2008, p. 134, mentions it in connection with Bacchiacca's copy in Dijon, which he dates between 1510 and 1515 while Bacchiacca was an apprentice in Perugino's workshop.

    Andreas Schumacher in Perugino: Raffaels Meister. Exh. cat., Alte Pinakothek. Munich, 2011, p. 270, notes that the underdrawing of a panel in the Alte Pinakothek demonstrates that the model was the Resurrection in the MMA, which belonged to the predella of the SS. Annunziata altarpiece.

  • See also