Inscription: Inscribed (base of each panel) with the apostle's name
Samuel von Festetits, Vienna (until 1859; his sale, Artaria, Vienna, April 11, 1859, no. 109, with the Assumption, as by Bergognone, to Pálffy); Count Jan Frantisek Pálffy, Bajmócz [Bojnice] Castle, Slovak Republic (1859–d. 1908); the Pálffy family, Bajmócz [Bojnice] Castle (1908–at least 1912; as by Orcagna); [Rudolf Rysavy, Prague, until 1926; as by Bergognone; sold to MMA]
Lexington, Va. Washington and Lee University. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art Loan Exhibit," October 30, 1950–January 15, 1951, no. 13 (.2, .6, and .9 only) [these works remained on long-term loan to Washington and Lee University until February 14, 1952].
Arduino Colasanti and Tiberio Gerevich. "I quadri italiani nelle collezioni del conte Pálffy in Ungheria." Rassegna d'arte 12 (November 1912), p. 166, as at Bajmócz (Bojnice); note that the altarpiece is attributed to Andrea Orcagna, but themselves ascribe it to Bergognone; place it close to the Assumption of 1522 made for the church of Santa Maria dell'Incoronata, Nerviano (now Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan); describe the twelve panels of the apostles as set within the modern frame of the Assumption.
Theodor v. Frimmel. Lexikon der Wiener Gemäldesammlungen. Vol. 1, Buchstabe A bis F. Munich, 1913, p. 377, no. 109, records Pálffy as the buyer at the Festetits sale in 1859.
G[abriel]. de T[érey]. Letter to Robert de Forest. September 20, 1926, attributes the altarpiece to Bergognone; includes a diagram showing how the panels of the apostles are framed in vertical rows of six each on either side of the Assumption; states that the altarpiece probably comes from the church of Cremina in Valsassina, northern Italy.
Bryson Burroughs. "The Assumption of the Virgin by Borgognone." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 22 (May 1927), pp. 144, 146, ill. (Saint John), believes that the apostles are probably from an earlier period than the Assumption and that they originally formed the predella of another work.
Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, p. 138, ill. p. 137 (Saint James the Less, cropped).
A[ngela]. Ottino Della Chiesa in Dizionario biografico degli italiani. Vol. 2, Rome, 1960, p. 717.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 26, 375, 607, as by Bergognone.
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. 3–4, pls. 34–45, call them very close to Bergognone's style in the late 1490s and consider them the work of a close follower; note a similarity to the style of Bergognone's brother, Bernardino Bergognone, but add that too little is known of Bernardino's work to make an attribution to him.
Pietro C. Marani in Pinacoteca di Brera: scuole lombarda e piemontese 1300–1535. Milan, 1988, p. 92, as tentatively ascribed to Bernardino Bergognone and dating to the last decade of the fifteenth century; compares them to the four Prophets by Ambrogio Bergognone in the Brera, and especially to the prophet Joel; notes that they are inferior in quality and must derive from a similar source in Ambrogio's work.
Pietro C. Marani in Ambrogio Bergognone: acquisizioni, scoperte e restauri. Exh. cat., Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan. Florence, 1989, p. 63.
With the exception of the Saint John, all the panels retain their original lip along the bottom and vertical edges (the Saint John retains the lip along the vertical edges only). An extremely fatty medium that appears bituminous has been employed in the darks, resulting in a severe crack pattern. The only areas free of this disfiguration are the whites and the flesh tones. The heads of Saints Thomas and Thaddeus have been extensively retouched, and the gold has suffered from flaking. As the focus of the perspective is the same throughout, these panels must originally have been placed at the same level, possibly as the predella of an altarpiece.