These two panels from the base (predella) of an altarpiece show three episodes from the Bible: in one Christ is arrested (the naked man is an apostle—John or Mark—fleeing, in accordance with Mark 14:51–52). In the other Christ’s body is mourned and then buried. Bartolomeo di Tommaso is an artist of strikingly modern expressive power, unfettered by the concerns for naturalism embraced by Renaissance painters.
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Title:The Betrayal of Christ
Artist:Bartolomeo di Tommaso (Italian, Umbrian, active by 1425–died 1453/54)
Medium:Tempera on wood
Dimensions:Overall 8 3/4 x 17 in. (22.2 x 43.2 cm); irregular painted surface 7 3/4 x 16 1/8 in. (19.7 x 41 cm)
Credit Line:Gwynne Andrews Fund, 1958
Victor Martin Le Roy, Paris (until d. 1918); Mme Martin Le Roy du Luart (1918–37; sold through Henri Leman to Wildenstein and Brimo de Laroussilhe); [Wildenstein, Paris and New York, and Brimo de Laroussilhe, Paris, 1937–50; half-share sold to Laroussilhe]; [Brimo de Laroussilhe, Paris, 1950–58; sold to The Met]
New York. Wildenstein. "Italian Paintings," 1947, no. 35 (with 58.87.2).
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 50, as in the Martin Le Roy collection, Paris; attributes this painting and 58.87.2 to Bartolomeo di Tommaso and identifies them as predella panels.
Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 43.
Bernard Berenson. Letter. March 21, 1938 [see Ref. Wildenstein 1947], states that he remembers the two panels in the Martin Le Roy collection and attributes them to Bartolomeo di Tommaso.
Italian Paintings. Exh. cat., Wildenstein. New York, 1947, unpaginated, no. 35, ill., mentions two similar predella panels in the Pinacoteca Vaticana depicting Christ at Gethsemane and the Betrayal; notes the influence of Salimbeni.
Federico Zeri. "Bartolomeo di Tommaso da Foligno." Bollettino d'arte 46 (January–June 1961), pp. 47–48, fig. 9, dates the two panels shortly before 1437.
F[ederico]. Zeri inDizionario biografico degli italiani. Vol. 6, Rome, 1964, p. 776, dates the two panels about 1437.
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Central Italian and North Italian Schools. London, 1968, vol. 1, p. 33.
Anna Zanoli. "Un altare di Bartolomeo di Tommaso a Cesena." Paragone 20 (May 1969), pp. 64, 72 n. 3, observes that these two panels belong to a different series from the ones in the Pinacoteca Vaticana and elsewhere.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 17, 283, 609.
Michel Laclotte and Elisabeth Mognetti. Peinture italienne. Paris, 1976, unpaginated, under no. 26.
Mario Sensi. "Documenti per Bartolomeo di Tommaso da Foligno." Paragone 28 (March 1977), p. 123 n. 9.
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. 8–9, pl. 36, compare the figure of the naked young man at the right with that of Saint Francis in the scene of the saint renouncing his heritage from Sassetta's Sansepolcro altarpiece (National Gallery, London; commissioned 1437, installed 1444); note other similarities to Sassetta's altarpiece and conclude that the two MMA panels must date from about the same time.
Michel Laclotte and Elisabeth Mognetti. Avignon, musée du Petit Palais: Peinture italienne. 3rd ed. Paris, 1987, p. 57, under no. 26.
Filippo Todini. La pittura umbra dal Duecento al primo Cinquecento. Milan, 1989, vol. 1, p. 28; vol. 2, pl. 708.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 120, ill.
Michel Laclotte and Esther Moench. Peinture italienne: musée du Petit Palais Avignon. new ed. Paris, 2005, p. 69, under no. 27.
This panel and The Lamentation and the Entombment (58.87.2) were parts of the predella of an unidentified altarpiece.
In his account of the taking of Christ, Saint Mark (14:51–52) tells how a young man who had followed Jesus and was set upon by soldiers fled away naked. This event is depicted on the right side of the panel. Since the young man is usually identified as one of Christ's disciples (Saint John, Saint James the Less, or Saint Mark), he is shown with a halo.
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