Given the elevated position of Saint Anthony Abbot (ca. 251–356), flanked by Saints Roch (protector of victims of the plague) and Lucy (patron of the blind: she holds an oil lamp), this altarpiece may have been painted about 1513 for the brothers of Saint Anthony, who ministered to plague victims. As a work of Bellini it belonged to Empress Josephine Bonaparte, testifying to the enduring reputation of Cima’s probable teacher
[Louis Varisco, Paris, in 1811; cat., 1811, unnumbered, pp. 7–8, as by Giovanni Bellini]; Josephine Bonaparte, Empress of France, Malmaison (until d. 1814; inv., 1814, no. 1162, as by Bellini); her son, Eugène de Beauharnais, Viceroy of Italy, later Herzog von Leuchtenberg, Munich and St. Petersburg (1814–d. 1824; sale, Augsburg, 1819, no. 31, as by Bellini, not sold; sale, Augsburg, 1820, no. 24, as by Bellini, not sold; cat., 1825, no. 63, as by Gian Francesco Caroto); Herzogen von Leuchtenberg, Munich and St. Petersburg (from 1824; cat., 1851, no. 49, as by Caroto); George, Herzog von Leuchtenberg, Prince Romanovsky, St. Petersburg (by 1903–until at least 1905); [Sulley and Co., London, until 1907; sold to MMA]
New York. American Federation of the Arts. "Saints (circulating exhibition)," January 1951–September 1952, no catalogue?
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Venetian Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum," May 1–September 2, 1974, no catalogue.
Leningrad [St. Petersburg]. State Hermitage Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," May 22–July 27, 1975, no. 2.
Moscow. State Pushkin Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," August 28–November 2, 1975, no. 2.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art in Renaissance Venice, 1400–1515: Paintings and Drawings from the Museum's Collections," November 8, 2011–February 5, 2012, no catalogue.
Paul (Hippolyte) Delaroche. Catalogue d'une collection précieuse de tableaux. Paris, 1811, pp. 7–8, as by Giovanni Bellini; identifies the female saint as Catherine.
Inventaire après décès de l'Impératrice Joséphine à Malmaison. 1814, f. 219, no. 1162 [published in Serge Grandjean, "Inventaire après décès de l'Impératrice Joséphine à Malmaison," (Paris, 1964), p. 161], as by Giovanni Bellini; identifies the female saint as Catherine.
[Johann Nepomuk] Muxel. Catalogue des tableaux de la galerie de feu son Altesse Royale Monseigneur le Prince Eugène Duc de Leuchtenberg à Munich. 1st ed., 1825. Munich, 1843, p. 35, no. 63, as "St. Jacques, St. Antoine l'hermite, et une St. Vierge," by Gian Francesco Caroto.
J. D. Passavant. Gemälde-Sammlung Seiner Kaiserl. Hoheit des Herzogs von Leuchtenberg in München. 2nd ed. Frankfurt am Main, 1851, p. 10, no. 49, pl. 49 (engraving by Muxel) [English ed., 1852, p. 8, no. 49, pl. 49], as by Caroto; identifies the saints as Roch, Anthony, and a young female saint.
Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle. Unpublished manuscript. n.d. [Biblioteca Marciana, Venice; see Ref. Zeri and Gardner 1973], rejects the attribution to Caroto, finding it closer to the followers of Cima, suggesting Girolamo da Udine.
Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle. Unpublished manuscript. 1865 [Biblioteca Marciana, Venice; see Ref. Zeri and Gardner 1973], suggests an attribution to either Basaiti or Girolamo di Bernardino da Udine.
G[ustav]. F[riedrich]. Waagen. Die Gemäldesammlung in der Kaiserlichen Eremitage zu St. Petersburg. 2nd ed. St. Petersburg, 1870, p. 375, as by Caroto, but notes some similarity to Previtali.
J[oseph]. A[rcher]. Crowe and G[iovanni]. B[attista]. Cavalcaselle. A History of Painting in North Italy: Venice, Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Ferrara, Milan, Friuli, Brescia, from the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century. London, 1871, vol. 1, p. 486 n. 4 (from p. 485); vol. 2, p. 188 n. 1, attribute it tentatively to Girolamo da Udine.
Gaetano Milanesi, ed. Le vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori, ed architettori. By Giorgio Vasari. Vol. 5, 1906 ed. Florence, 1880, p. 288 n. 2, mentions it as by Caroto.
Fritz Harck. "Notizen über italienische Bilder in Petersburger Sammlungen." Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft 19 (1896), p. 431, considers it close in style to Cima; identifies the female saint as Mary Magdalen; erroneously states that the figures are half-length.
A[lexandre]. Néoustroïeff. "I quadri italiani nella collezione del duca G. N. von Leuchtenberg di Pietroburgo." L'arte 6 (1903), p. 345, fig. 14, attributes it to the school of Cima.
Alexandre Néoustroïeff. "Les tableaux de la collection du Duc G. N. de Leuchtenberg: École italienne." Trésors d'art en Russie 4, nos. 2–4 (1904), pl. 27, attributes it to Caroto.
Rudolf Burckhardt. Cima da Conegliano. Leipzig, 1905, p. 122, as in the collection of the Herzog von Leuchtenberg, St. Petersburg; attributes it to the school of Cima.
"Principal Accessions." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 2 (October 1907), p. 172, ill., attributes it to Cima.
Giuseppe Biàdego. Verona. Bergamo, 1909, p. 100, as by a student of Cima.
Morton H. Bernath. New York und Boston. Leipzig, 1912, pp. 79–80, fig. 81, calls it a characteristic work by Cima; identifies the female saint as Euphemia.
Tancred Borenius, ed. A History of Painting in North Italy: Venice, Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Ferrara, Milan, Friuli, Brescia, from the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century. By J[oseph]. A[rcher]. Crowe and G[iovanni]. B[attista]. Cavalcaselle. 2nd ed. [1st ed. 1871]. London, 1912, vol. 3, p. 81 n. 2 (from p. 79), states that it is now at The Met.
J[oseph]. A[rcher]. Crowe and G[iovanni]. B[attista]. Cavalcaselle. A History of Painting in North Italy: Venice, Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Ferrara, Milan, Friuli, Brescia, from the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century. Ed. Tancred Borenius. 2nd ed. [1st ed 1871]. London, 1912, vol. 3, p. 81 n. 2 (from p. 79).
Bernard Berenson. Venetian Painting in America: The Fifteenth Century. New York, 1916, pp. 204–5, dates it after 1510 and attributes it to Cima with substantial workshop assistance; identifies the female saint as Lucy and suggests that both she and Saint Roch are portraits; notes that the figure of Saint Anthony recalls the one from the "Carità" triptychs designed by Giovanni Bellini soon after 1470.
"Current Art Notes." Connoisseur 82 (November 1928), p. 187, ill. p. 181, as by an imitator of Cima.
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 147, lists it as a late work, in great part by Cima; calls the female saint Mary Magdalen.
Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. Vol. 17, The Renaissance Painters of Venice. The Hague, 1935, pp. 443, 476, fig. 264, attributes it to Cima, and dates it between 1510 and 1513.
Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 127.
Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, p. 183, ill.
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School. London, 1957, vol. 1, p. 66.
Victor Lasareff. "Opere nuove e poco note di Cima da Conegliano." Arte veneta 11 (1957), p. 48, calls it a late work by Cima and dates it about 1513; calls the female saint Catherine.
Luigi Coletti. Cima da Conegliano. Venice, 1959, p. 93, pl. 128, finds it superior to the work of Francesco di Simone da Santa Croce, to whom one might consider attributing it; calls it close to Cima's polyptych in the parish church of S. Fior.
Maria Teresa Franco Fiorio. Giovan Francesco Caroto. Verona, 1971, p. 110, no. 5, lists it as a lost work by Caroto, formerly in the Leuchtenberg collection.
Denys Sutton, ed. Letters of Roger Fry. New York, 1972, vol. 1, p. 282 n. 2 to letter no. 219 (March 5, 1907).
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 53, 372, 426, 446, 605.
Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Venetian School. New York, 1973, p. 20, pl. 18, call it one of Cima's latest works, and note the probable participation of the workshop; add that the painting's surface "has suffered slightly in the transfer from wood to canvas".
Ellis Waterhouse. Giorgione. May 3, 1973 [published as "Giorgione," Glasgow, 1974, p. 23], dates it after 1510.
Luigi Menegazzi. Cima da Conegliano. Treviso, 1981, p. 144, fig. 198, includes it with works wrongly attributed to Cima.
Peter Humfrey. Cima da Conegliano. Cambridge, 1983, p. 131, no. 104, pl. 162, agrees that it shows significant workshop participation; calls it a late work of about 1512–17; notes that it seems to have been cut down on all four sides.
John Pope-Hennessy. "Roger Fry and The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Oxford, China, and Italy: Writings in Honour of Sir Harold Acton on his Eightieth Birthday. Ed. Edward Chaney and Neil Ritchie. London, 1984, p. 234.
Burton B. Fredericksen. "The Collection of Older Paintings at Malmaison." Mélanges en hommage à Pierre Rosenberg: Peintures et dessins en France et en Italie XVII–XVIIIe siècles. Paris, 2001, pp. 195–96, fig. 1.
Peter Humfrey inCima da Conegliano: poeta del paesaggio. Ed. Giovanni C. F. Villa. Exh. cat., Palazzo Sarcinelli, Conegliano. Venice, 2010, ill. p. 37 (color).
The frame is possibly Venetian and dates to about 1620 (see Additional Images, figs. 1–4). This water gilded cassetta or box frame is constructed of pine and is abundantly carved overall with subtle symmetry. Running outward from a center point, the inner molding is ornamented in a fruit and leaf motif, the frieze has a foliate and floral vine on a punchwork background with acanthus leaves at the corners, and the outer molding has a husk motif. The back edge is carved in a running acanthus leaf. The frame has been modified with great skill to fit the painting, with a slight increase in height, a reduction in its width, and the addition of a slip liner at the sight edge.
[Timothy Newbery with Cynthia Moyer 2015; further information on this frame can be found in the Department of European Paintings files]