Bartolomeo degli Erri and his brother Agnolo were the key artistic personalities in Modena (north of Bologna) during the second half of the fifteenth century, painting three altarpieces for the church of San Domenico. This picture is from the base (predella) of the main altarpiece and shows Saint Dominic resuscitating Napoleone Orsini, who had been killed in a fall from his horse. In the background, the saint presents the revived young man to his astonished uncle, Cardinal Stefano di Fossa Nova. The episode was vividly described in the writings of Cecilia Cesarini, a Dominican nun who knew Saint Dominic and whose recollections provide a valuable perspective on his life and miracles.
Use your arrow keys to navigate the tabs below, and your tab key to choose an item
Artist:Bartolomeo degli Erri (Italian, Modena, active 1460–79)
Medium:Tempera on canvas, transferred from wood
Dimensions:14 x 17 1/2 in. (35.6 x 44.5 cm)
Credit Line:The Bequest of Michael Dreicer, 1921
the high altar of the church of San Domenico, Modena (until about 1708–10); John Edward Taylor, London (until d. 1905); his widow, Mrs. John E. Taylor, London (1905–12; her sale, Christie's, London, July 5 and 8, 1912, no. 13, as by Jacopo Bellini, for £1,365 to Walters); [Walters, from 1912]; Michael Dreicer, New York (by 1917–d. 1921)
New York. F. Kleinberger Galleries. "Italian Primitives," November 12–30, 1917, no. 91 (as "A Dominican Legend," by Domenico Morone, lent by Michael Dreicer).
New York. American Federation of Arts. "Saints (circulating exhibition)," January 1951–September 1952, no catalogue?
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Saints and Their Legends," March 1–September 3, 1974, exh. brochure.
Giorgio Vasari. Le vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori, ed architettori. Ed. Gaetano Milanesi. 1906 ed. Florence, 1568, vol. 6, p. 481, mentions four altarpieces by an anonymous Modenese artist of the mid-fifteenth century in the church of San Domenico, Modena, including one dedicated to Saint Dominic, on the high altar.
Lodovico Vedriani. Raccolta de' pittori, scultori, et architetti modenesi più celebri. Modena, 1662, pp. 23–24, notes that the high altarpiece mentioned by Vasari has been moved to the choir.
Girolamo Tiraboschi. Notizie de' pittori, scultori, incisori, e architetti natii degli stati del serenissimo signor Duca di Modena. Modena, 1786, pp. 133–34 [reprinted in Biblioteca modenese 6 (1786), pp. 345–46], concerning the altarpieces seen by Vasari and Vedriani, records that some of the paintings with stories of Saint Peter Martyr were then in the palace of the Infante Duke of Parma at Colorno, others were scattered through Modena, and some were still in the church; considers the works to be in the style of Serafino de' Serafini.
Bernhard Berenson. North Italian Painters of the Renaissance. New York, 1907, p. 266, as in the collection of Mrs. J. E. Taylor, London; lists it as an early work by Domenico Morone.
Catalogue of the Highly Important Collection . . . Formed by the late John Edward Taylor, Esq. Christie's, London. July 5 and 8, 1912, p. 6, no. 13, as by Jacopo Bellini; notes that another panel seemingly from the same altarpiece is at Oxford.
Osvald Sirén and Maurice W. Brockwell. Catalogue of a Loan Exhibition of Italian Primitives. Exh. cat., F. Kleinberger Galleries, Inc. New York, 1917, pp. 228–29, no. 91, ill., accept the attribution to Morone.
H. B. W[ehle]. "The Michael Dreicer Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 17 (May 1922), p. 103, attributes it to Domenico Morone.
B[ryson]. B[urroughs]. "A Fifteeth-Century Italian Panel." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 18 (November 1923), pp. 242–44, believes it is by the same hand as "Saint Thomas Aquinas Aided by Saints Peter and Paul" (MMA 23.140) and panels in the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
B[ernard]. Berenson. "Nove pitture in cerca di un'attribuzione." Dedalo 5 (1925), pp. 601–42, 688–722, 745–75, ill. p. 609 [reprinted in "Three Essays in Method," Oxford, 1927, pp. 1–71, fig. 5], attributes it and the other pictures in the group he discusses to the Veronese painter Domenico Morone and dates them between 1480 and 1490; calls it a predella panel.
Raffaello Brenzoni inAllgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Hans Vollmer. Vol. 25, Leipzig, 1931, p. 164, lists it among works attributed to Domenico Morone.
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 377.
Evelyn Sandberg Vavalà. "Francesco Benaglio." Art in America 21 (December 1932), p. 61 n. 12, attributes it to Agnolo degli Erri.
Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 323.
[Carlo Ludovico] R[agghianti]. "Sul problema Erri–D. Morone." Critica d'arte, part 2, 4 (January–March 1939), pp. I–IV [reprinted in "Miscellanea minore di critica d'arte," Bari, 1946, pp. 84–90], rejects the attribution of Berenson's [see Ref. 1925] group to Morone, assigning the pictures instead to the degli Erri brothers and dating them between 1460 and 1480; suggests that they may have belonged to the altarpieces in San Domenico; identifies another panel from the Saint Domenic altarpiece (formerly Schweitzer collection).
Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, p. 133, ill.
Roberto Longhi. Ampliamenti nell'officina ferrarese. Florence, 1940, p. 39 n. 3 [reprinted in Longhi 1956], rejects the attribution of Berenson's group to Domenico Morone; attributes the Preaching of Saint Thomas (now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington) to Agnolo degli Erri and the rest to Bartolomeo degli Erri.
Valeria Silvia Bariola. "I rapporti di Piero della Francesca con la cultura artistica modenese nel '400." PhD diss., Università di Bologna, 1942–43, p. 52 [see Ref. Benati 1988].
Alberto Mario Chiodi. "Bartolomeo degli Erri e i polittici domenicani." Commentari 2 (1951), pp. 19–21, fig. 37, attributes it to Bartolomeo degli Erri, identifying it as a fragment of the high altar in San Domenico commissioned in 1467 and completed by 1474, the date of the last payment; identifies the ex Schweitzer painting published by Ragghianti [see Ref. 1939] as a scene of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Josephine L. Allen and Elizabeth E. Gardner. A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 70.
Raffaello Brenzoni. Domenico Morone. Florence, 1956, pp. 42–43, notes that the paintings grouped by Berenson are by the same artist.
Roberto Longhi. Opere complete di Roberto Longhi. Vol. 5, Officina ferrarese: 1934. repr. 1968. Florence, 1956, pp. 169–70 n. 3, pp. 185, 219, reprints Ref. Longhi 1940.
Louis Réau. Iconographie de l'art chrétien. Vol. 3, Iconographie des Saints. Paris, 1958, part 1, p. 397, lists it as by Morone.
Mario Salmi. Pittura e miniatura a Ferrara nel primo rinascimento. Ferrara, 1961, p. 37.
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Central Italian and North Italian Schools. London, 1968, vol. 1, p. 280.
Fern Rusk Shapley. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Vol. 2, Italian Schools: XV–XVI Century. London, 1968, pp. 9–10 n. 4, supports the attribution to Bartolomeo degli Erri.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 68, 391, 606, as by Agnolo and Bartolomeo degli Erri.
Christopher Lloyd. A Catalogue of the Earlier Italian Paintings in the Ashmolean Museum. Oxford, 1977, pp. 20–21 nn. 6–7, under no. A93, attributes it to Bartolomeo degli Erri.
George Kaftal with the collaboration of Fabio Bisogni. Iconography of the Saints in the Painting of North East Italy. Florence, 1978, col. 261, fig. 314, attribute it to Bartolomeo degli Erri.
Keith Christiansen. "Early Renaissance Narrative Painting in Italy." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 41 (Fall 1983), pp. 17, 19, 21, fig. 16 (color).
Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, North Italian School. New York, 1986, pp. 13–15, pl. 13, find that the horizontal format suggests a predella panel.
Olga Pujmanová. Italské gotické a renesancní obrazy v ceskoslovenských sbírkách. Exh. cat., Šternberský Palác. Prague, 1986, p. 41.
Daniele Benati inLa pittura in Italia: il Quattrocento. Ed. Federico Zeri. revised and expanded ed. [Milan], 1987, vol. 1, p. 268.
Daniele Benati et al. La bottega degli Erri e la pittura del Rinascimento a Modena. Modena, 1988, pp. 72–75, 129–33, 167, 197–99, fig. 103 (color), accept Christiansen's (1980) reading of the 1467 contract and his suggestion that the Strasbourg Madonna and Child formed the center of the altarpiece; publish a 1480 expert valuation ("perizia") which suggests that the altarpiece was not yet complete and that Bartolomeo was its sole author; compare the narrative to that of the Presentation of the Virgin (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) by the Master of the Barberini Panels (Fra Carnevale) and suggest that both were inspired by Leon Battista Alberti.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 112, ill.
Joseph Manca inItalian Paintings of the Fifteenth Century. Washington, 2003, pp. 257–60 nn. 6, 17, fig. 1, dates this panel to the early 1470s, calling it later than the Saint Thomas panels; accepts the Madonna and Child in Strasbourg as the central panel.
Dessins & tableaux anciens et du XIXe siècle. Drouot-Richelieu, Paris. November 15, 2013, p. 12, under no. 22.
Esther Moench inDe Giotto à Goya: Peintures italiennes et espagnoles du musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg. Strasbourg, 2017, p. 63, under no. 25, states that if the Strasbourg Madonna and Child does belong to the Saint Dominic altarpiece, it can be dated to about 1481–85.
In the foreground, Saint Dominic resuscitates the young Napoleone Orsini, who was killed when he fell from his horse; in the background, the saint restores the boy to his uncle, Cardinal Stefano of Fossanova.
This work formed part of the predella of an altarpiece dedicated to Saint Dominic commissioned from Bartolomeo in 1467 for the high altar of the church of San Domenico in Modena. The final payment was made in 1474. The document commissioning the altarpiece was first published by Adolfo Venturi in Archivio storico dell'arte 7 (1894), pp. 140–41. A Madonna and Child in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Strasbourg, may be the central panel of the altarpiece.
San Domenico once contained three altarpieces by Bartolomeo, dedicated to Saints Dominic, Thomas Aquinas, and Vincent Ferrer; a fourth altarpiece dedicated to Peter Martyr (signed and dated by Simone Lamberti, 1450) is now in the Galleria Nazionale, Parma (no. 499).
The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can connect to the most up-to-date data and public domain images for The Met collection. Open Access data and public domain images are available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.
We continue to research and examine historical and cultural context for objects in The Met collection. If you have comments or questions about this object record, please complete and submit this form. The Museum looks forward to receiving your comments.