These two panels are from an enormous, double-sided altarpiece on the high altar of the church of Santissima Annunziata, Florence. Begun by Filippino Lippi in 1502, it was completed after his death by Perugino. The altarpiece had the form of a Roman triumphal arch, with large scenes flanked by Perugino’s standing saints, which are notable for the subdued coloring and subtle treatment of light. For more information about these paintings, including a reconstruction of the altarpiece, visit metmuseum.org.
These two panels come from one of the largest and most prestigious altarpieces of Renaissance Florence, commissioned in 1500 by the friars of the Servite church of Santissima Annunziata. Designed by the woodworker-architect Baccio d’Agnolo (1462–1543), the altarpiece had the form of a classically-styled, free-standing triumphal arch, with painted panels on the front, back, and sides (on Baccio d’Agnolo’s work as a frame-maker, see Cecchi 1990). It was situated in the circular tribune of the church that had been designed by Leon Battista Alberti and served to divide the nave from the choir of the church. Thanks to a series of documents we are able to reconstruct the history of the altarpiece in some detail (see especially Canuti 1931, vol. 2, pp. 241–53; Nelson 1997, pp. 93–94; and Nelson 2005; further, related documents, transcribed by Christiansen, are in the files of the department). On 15 September 1500 Baccio d’Agnolo was engaged by one of the Servite friars, Zaccheria di Lorenzo, to make the framework for the enormous altarpiece in accordance with a model he had already furnished. The agreement mentions "pilasters and columns carved in relief, a frieze and architrave and predella (or base) and a crown (or wreath) and frontispiece, all carved in relief." It was to be finished by the end of 1502 and was to cost 150 florins. At an unspecified date Filippino Lippi (ca. 1457–1504) was hired to furnish the paintings; we learn this when, on 15 September 1503, the initial agreement with him was re-negotiated. He was expected to provide a large panel with the Deposition from the Cross for the front of the altarpiece and, for the reverse, an equally large painting, the subject of which, surprisingly, was not yet determined. Each of these large scenes was to be flanked by smaller panels with single figures of saints; a further pair of saints was to decorate the sides of the altarpiece. Filippino’s originally established remuneration of 150 florins was increased to 200. When Filippino died on 20 April 1504, he had not yet finished the Deposition (a small painting from his workshop that records his design for the composition is in the MMA: 12.168). Thus, on 5 August 1505, the commission was given to Perugino, who worked over the Deposition and painted the remaining panels, delivering all of them by 4 November 1507. On 21 November 1505 another painter, Francesco di Niccolò, was hired to gild the altarpiece for an astonishing 240 florins, suggesting the lavishness of the work.
All of the painted panels survive, though those of individual standing saints have been cropped to varying degrees at the top and bottom. The Deposition is in the Galleria dell’Accademia (see Additional Images, fig. 1); an Assumption of the Virgin—the picture from the reverse side of the altarpiece—is in a side chapel of the SS. Annunziata (see Additional Images, fig. 2); a pair of panels—Saint Margaret of Antioch (until recently identified as Saint Helen) and the blessed Francis of Siena—are in the Lindenau-Museum, Altenburg; and two more saints, cut down to half-length—Catherine of Alexandria and Filippo Benizzi—are in a private collection and the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Rome, respectively (for the identification of Francis of Siena and Filippo Benizzi, see Canuti 1931 and Nelson 1997; for Margaret of Antioch, see Fastenrath Vinattieri 2011). Although other reconstructions of the altarpiece have been proposed, some involving additional paintings (Canuti 1931 and Zeri 1964), the structure almost certainly consisted of only these eight paintings.
In 1546 the two main panels were removed so that a ciborium containing the Eucharist could be displayed beneath the center portion of Baccio d’Agnolo’s framework, in conformity with the new emphasis on the display of the Sacrament during the period of the Counter Reformation. The ciborium was carved by Baccio d’Agnolo’s sons, Giuliano and Filippo. Among the adjustments to the original framework was the gilding of the crowning element and the addition of eight carved candelabra. In 1568 the height of the structure's pedestal was increased to improve visibility. It was probably at this time that the panels with saints were modified: the panels on the sides of the altarpiece were moved to the front and two on the front were turned into bust-length images and superimposed above the two standing saints, which were reduced in height. A portion of the transformed altarpiece can be seen in the background of a painting of 1602 by Cristofano Allori showing a miracle performed by the Blessed Manetto d'Antello within the church of Santissima Annunziata (see Additional Images, figs. 3, 4). A recapitulation of these alterations can be found in a record book running from 1694 to 1703 (Archivio di Stato, Florence; Con. Sopp. 119, vol. 56, pp. 337–38). It notes that the Deposition and the Assumption of the Virgin had been replaced by a ciborium for the Holy Sacrament, the first picture conceded to the Federighi family and the second hung first in the sacristy and then in the Ribatti family chapel. It further notes that in 1654 the ciborium, carved in wood and gilded, was given to Antonio de’ Medici in exchange for one of silver; the carved one was placed on an altar in the hospital church of Santa Maria Nuova. "And the pictures of the triumphal arch (i.e., Perugino’s paintings of saints), which with the ciborium were given to Antonio [de’ Medici], and are in diverse places." A ground plan of the church made in 1675 shows the altered altarpiece, with the silver ciborium beneath the arch and a baldachin suspended above (see Additional Images, figs. 5, 6).
Two recent hypothetical reconstructions offer different interpretations of where the Metropolitan panels were originally situated on the altarpiece. Nelson’s (2005) reconstruction places Saint John the Baptist and Saint Lucy on the front face, flanking the Deposition (see Additional Images, fig. 7). According to Fastenrath Vinattieri (2011), however, the front displayed Saint John the Baptist and Saint Catherine of Alexandria, while the Metropolitan’s Saint Lucy could be found on the back with Saint Margaret of Antioch, to either side of the Assumption. Fastenrath Vinattieri also proposes that the altarpiece was originally surmounted by a monumental carved wreath (the chorona stipulated in the contract with Baccio d’Agnolo) and a reused crucifix of 1482 by Giuliano da Sangallo, both of which can be discerned in the drawing of the church’s ground plan of 1675 (see Additional Images, fig. 5). As the precursor to Christ, Saint John the Baptist (here both reconstructions are in agreement) had the place of honor on the dexter side of the main panel. Relics of Saint Catherine were possessed by the convent, explaining her presence in the altarpiece. A chapel in the church was dedicated to Saint Lucy.
At the time Perugino received the commission he was perhaps the most popular painter in Italy, though his most creative period was in the past. In a memorandum by the duke of Milan’s agent in Florence written around 1490, Perugino was listed together with Botticelli, Filippino Lippi, and Ghirlandaio as one of the four outstanding painters. He was described as a singular master, whose works were notable for their angelic air and sweetness. In his 1565 biography of the artist, Giorgio Vasari recounts the story that Filippino’s unfinished composition of the Deposition was preferred to Perugino’s Assumption and that, as a result, the Assumption, which had—so Vasari thought—been intended for the front of the altarpiece, was instead placed on the reverse side, and moreover, that because of Perugino’s recycling of figures he had used elsewhere, his work was much criticized. The documents cited above make it clear that this story was invented by Vasari to express his own critical evaluation of the trajectory of Perugino’s career. He has the artist respond to his critics, "I have put in this work the same figures that you have praised in the past and that pleased you infinitely. If they now displease and are not praised, can I help it?" There is no contemporary evidence that the altarpiece was considered anything other than a major achievement.
[Keith Christiansen and Joshua P. Waterman 2012]
church of Santissima Annunziata, Florence (until 1654); Antonio di Vitale de' Medici, Florence (from 1654); [Johann Metzger, Florence, until d. 1844]; [his son, Florence, 1844–74; sold to Saxe-Meiningen]; Georg (II), Herzog von Saxe-Meiningen, Schloss Meiningen, Meiningen, Thuringia, Germany (1874–d. 1914); Herzogen and Prinzen von Saxe-Meiningen, Schloss Meiningen (1914–46); Bernhard (IV), Prinz von Saxe-Meiningen, Schloss Meiningen (1946–before 1955); [Rosenberg & Stiebel, New York, by 1960–61; sold to Linsky]; Mr. and Mrs. Jack Linsky, New York (1961–his d. 1980); The Jack and Belle Linsky Foundation, New York (1980–81)
Perugia. Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria. "Perugino: il divin pittore," February 28–July 18, 2004, no. I.49b [Saint Lucy only].
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Raphael at the Metropolitan: The Colonna Altarpiece," June 20–September 4, 2006, nos. 24A, 24B.
Francesco Albertini. Memoriale di molte statue et picture. . . . Florence, 1510, c. 4 v. [reprinted in "Five Early Guides to Rome and Florence," intro. by Peter Murray, Farnborough, England, 1972], mentions that the high altarpiece in the church of Santissima Annunziata, Florence, of which these two panels formed a part, was left unfinished by Filippino Lippi and completed by Perugino.
Antonio Billi. Il libro. [ca. 1516–30], unpaginated [two copies in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze: MS. Magl. XIII, 89 and MS. Magl. XXV, 636; published in "Il libro di Antonio Billi," ed. Carl Frey, Berlin, 1892, p. 50], notes that Filippino left the altarpiece unfinished, and that Perugino completed the back (i.e., the Assumption) very badly.
Il codice magliabechiano. [ca. 1540], unpaginated? [published in "Il codice magliabechiano," ed. Carl Frey, Berlin, 1892, p. 116].
Giorgio Vasari. Le vite de piu eccellenti architetti, pittori, et scultori italiani. Florence, 1550, vol. 2, pp. 229, 259–60, recounts that the commission for the altarpiece was given to Filippino upon Leonardo da Vinci's departure for France and that upon Filippino's death it was transferred to Perugino; erroneously states that the Deposition was originally intended to face the choir and the Assumption the nave but that Perugino painted the Assumption so badly that the positions of the two compositions were reversed; notes that the large panels had been removed to make way for a tabernacle and that only the six panels with saints in niches remained.
Giorgio Vasari. Le vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori, ed architettori. Ed. Gaetano Milanesi. 1906 ed. Florence, 1568, vol. 3, pp. 475, 585–87; vol. 4, pp. 38–39; vol. 5, p. 350; vol. 6, p. 433, notes that Baccio d'Agnolo carved the wooden ornamentation for the altarpiece.
Michele Pocianti. Vite de sette beati fiorentini. Florence, 1589, p. 176 [reprinted in Ref. Pedretti 1978, p. 144], attributes the design of the frame to Leonardo.
Giuseppe Richa. Notizie istoriche delle chiese fiorentine. Vol. 8, Florence, 1759, pp. 32, 35, 38–39, describes the replacement of the altarpiece, whose design he attributes to Leonardo, by a silver ciborium commissioned in 1655 by Alessandro and Antonio de' Medici.
Giorgio Vasari. Vite de' piu' eccellenti pittori scultori e architetti scritte da Giorgio Vasari. Vol. 6, Milan, 1809, p. 298 n. 1, the editor notes that the six panels depicting saints are not in the church.
C. F. von Rumohr. Italienische Forschungen. Vol. 2, Berlin, 1827, p. 347, recalls having seen some wings from the altarpiece for sale for 30 zecchini.
[P. Tonini]. Il Santuario della Santissima Annunziata di Firenze. Florence, 1876, pp. 65–73, 119, 287–89, discusses the history of the altarpiece until 1810, when the Deposition entered the collection of the Galleria delle Belle Arti; publishes relevant documents.
Gaetano Milanesi, ed. Le vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori, ed architettori.. By Giorgio Vasari. Vol. 3, 1906 ed. Florence, 1878, p. 586 n. 2, notes that the six panels depicting saints have been sold and that the two MMA pictures are in the collection of the Metzger brothers in Florence.
Bernhard Berenson. The Central Italian Painters of the Renaissance. reprinted 1903. New York, 1897, p. 164, lists the Saint John the Baptist as well as a Saint John the Evangelist as in the ducal palace at Meiningen; calls them late works by Perugino.
August Schmarsow et al. "Meister des XIV. und XV. Jahrhunderts im Lindenau-Museum zu Altenburg." Festschrift zu Ehren des Kunsthistorischen Instituts in Florenz. Leipzig, 1897, p. 191, state that the two saints at Altenburg, which they identify as Saints Helen and Anthony of Padua, were bought in Florence from Metzger, and that Metzger's son sold the two MMA panels, which they identify as Saints Lucy and John the Baptist, to the dukes of Meiningen; identify these panels as parts of the Santissima Annunziata altarpiece, which they erroneously believe was painted for the Rabatta chapel.
George C. Williamson. Pietro Vannucci, called Perugino. London, 1900, p. 132, states that he has not seen the two works recorded by Berenson [see Ref. 1897] as at Meiningen.
G[eorg]. Voss. Bau- und Kunst-Denkmäler Thüringens. Vol. 34, Herzogthum Sachsen-Meiningen. Jena, Germany, 1909, p. 170, ill. following p. 170, states that Metzger's son sold them to the duke of Meiningen in 1874.
Bernhard Berenson. The Central Italian Painters of the Renaissance. 2nd ed., rev. and enl. New York, 1909, p. 220, lists the two MMA panels as at Meiningen and dates them 1506.
Edward Hutton, ed. A New History of Painting in Italy from the II to the XVI Century.. By [Joseph Archer] Crowe and [Giovanni Battista] Cavalcaselle. Vol. 3, The Florentine, Umbrian, and Sienese Schools of the XV Century. London, 1909, p. 262 n. 1, lists the two MMA panels as at the Grand Ducal Palace at Meiningen.
Walter Bombe. Geschichte der Peruginer Malerei. Berlin, 1912, pp. 201, 251, 376–81, suggests that the six panels of saints may have formed the predella of the altarpiece; publishes several documents related to the altarpiece.
A[dolfo]. Venturi. "La pittura del quattrocento." Storia dell'arte italiana. Vol. 7, part 2, Milan, 1913, p. 566 n. 1, following Ref. Schmarsow 1897, erroneously lists the two MMA panels and the two Altenburg panels as having come from the Rabatta chapel in Santissima Annunziata.
Tancred Borenius, ed. A History of Painting in Italy: Umbria, Florence, and Siena from the Second to the Sixteenth Century.. By J[oseph]. A[rcher]. Crowe and G[iovanni]. B[attista]. Cavalcaselle. Vol. 5, Umbrian and Sienese Masters of the Fifteenth Century. London, 1914, p. 370 n. 2.
Walter Bombe. Perugino, des Meisters Gemälde. Stuttgart, 1914, pp. XXVII, 247, 259, 265, figs. 134 (Baptist), 135 (Lucy), dates them 1506; suggests that the six panels of saints may have formed either the predella or the framework of the altarpiece.
J[oseph]. A[rcher]. Crowe and G[iovanni]. B[attista]. Cavalcaselle. A History of Painting in Italy: Umbria, Florence, and Siena from the Second to the Sixteenth Century. Ed. Tancred Borenius. Vol. 5, Umbrian and Sienese Masters of the Fifteenth Century. London, 1914, p. 370.
Tomaso Sillani. Pietro Vannucci detto Perugino pittore. Turin, 1915, p. 22, lists the Saint John the Baptist along with a Saint John the Evangelist as at Meiningen.
Umberto Gnoli. Pietro Perugino. Spoleto, , pp. 21–23, 45, 51–52, 56, attributes the MMA and Altenburg panels to an assistant, possibly Francesco di Niccolò; states that they flanked the central panel of the Assumption.
Umberto Gnoli. I documenti su Pietro Perugino. Perugia, 1923, pp. 47, 94–96, 98, 103, 105–7, publishes documents relating to the altarpiece.
Francesco Briganti. IV centenario dalla morte di Pietro Perugino. Perugia, 1923, p. 20, follows Ref. Schmarsow 1897 in erroneously listing the two MMA works and the two at Altenburg as coming from the Rabatta chapel.
Jean Alazard. Pérugin. Paris, 1927, pp. 95–96, 99, concurs with Gnoli [see Ref. 1923] in suggesting that the MMA and Altenburg panels may have been painted by Francesco di Niccolò.
Fiorenzo Canuti. Il Perugino. Siena, 1931, vol. 1, pp. 185–90, 192, pl. CXXXVIII; vol. 2, pp. 241–53, 333, publishes new documents concerning the history of the altarpiece and new provenance information; discusses the original organization of the elements of the altarpiece, suggesting that there was a total of ten painted panels: the two central compositions on front and back, each flanked by two rectangular panels (the Altenburg and MMA saints) and two square panels; rejects Gnoli's [see Ref. 1923] attribution of the Altenburg and MMA panels to Francesco di Niccolò, noting that Francesco was responsible only for gilding; identifies the male saint at Altenburg as Filippo Benizzi and the female saint at the MMA as either Lucy or Illuminata of Todi.
Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. Vol. 14, The Hague, 1933, p. 381, identifies the Altenburg and MMA panels as four of the series of six from the Santissima Annunziata altarpiece, calling them "decidedly uninteresting".
L. H. Heydenreich. "Berichte über die Sitzungen des Institutes." Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 5 (July 1940), pp. 436–37, suggests that Leonardo da Vinci may have had a part in the design of the altarpiece, comparing its structure to a sketch in the Codex Atlanticus (fol. 114 recto-B; Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan).
Walter Paatz and Elisabeth Paatz. Die Kirchen von Florenz. Vol. 1, A–C. Frankfurt am Main, 1940, pp. 127, 189–90 n. 544.
Nolfo di Carpegna. Catalogo della Galleria Nazionale, Palazzo Barberini, Roma. Rome, 1955, p. 48, states that Zeri has identified a panel depicting a half-length figure of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino (now identified as the Blessed Filippo Benizzi) in the Galleria Nazionale as belonging to the altarpiece of Santissima Annunziata; believes the picture was one of four square panels depicting half-length saints [see Ref. Canuti 1931]; notes that the two MMA panels were until very recently at Meiningen.
Ettore Camesasca. Tutta la pittura del Perugino. Milan, 1959, pp. 29, 37, 106–9, pls. 182A (Baptist), 182B (Lucy), follows Canuti's [see Ref. 1931] reconstruction of the altarpiece, but believes the number of saints may have exceeded eight; states on p. 107 that the two MMA panels flanked the Deposition, but on p. 108 that they were on the side of the altarpiece that faced the choir (i.e., the side with the Assumption); suggests that the Saint Nicholas of Tolentino may have been located above the Saint Helen.
Richard Offner. Letter. August 26, 1960, believes that the two MMA panels probably flanked the Assumption.
Richard Offner. Letter. February 23, 1961, writes that the two MMA panels flanked the Deposition; adds that they were painted by Perugino with the assistance of Francesco di Niccolò.
Robert Oertel. Frühe Italienische Malerei in Altenburg. Berlin, 1961, pp. 163–66, states that the two MMA panels were at Rosenberg & Stiebel, New York, in 1960; reconstructing the original appearance of the altarpiece, places Saint John the Baptist on the front, to the left of the Deposition, and Saints Helen and Lucy on the back, to the left and right, respectively, of the Assumption; places the remaining two saints, which he identifies only as Servites and attributes in part to an assistant, on the narrow sides of the altarpiece, perpendicular to the main compositions; suggests that there were up to twelve smaller pictures that were located above and below the panels of saints; notes that the saint in Rome has been cut down.
Klara Steinweg. "Review of Oertel 1961." Kunstchronik 16 (May 1963), p. 141, as in the Linsky collection; reports a verbal communication from Oertel on the discovery of a half-length figure of Saint Catherine (formerly in the collection of Sir Joseph Robinson, then in the Labia collection, on loan to the Kunsthaus, Zürich) which he believes formed part of the altarpiece, to the right of the Deposition, across from the Saint John the Baptist.
Federico Zeri. "Appunti sul Lindenau-Museum di Altenburg." Bollettino d'arte 49 (January–March 1964), pp. 51–52, accepts the Saint Catherine in Zürich as part of the series; proposes that it and the saint in Rome, which he identifies as probably either Francesco Patrizi or Gioacchino Piccolomini, were cut down at the same time to form a pair in a private collection; suggests that the altarpiece may have had a predella composed of a series divided between the MMA (Resurrection, 11.65) and the Art Institute of Chicago (Nativity, Baptism of Christ, Christ and the Woman of Samaria, and Noli me Tangere; 1933.1023–26).
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Central Italian and North Italian Schools. London, 1968, vol. 1, pp. 327, 329, lists all six saints as side panels from the Santissima Annunziata altarpiece and as "in great part autograph"; tentatively associates the predella scenes in Chicago (but not the one at the MMA) with the altarpiece.
Ettore Camesasca inL'opera completa del Perugino. Milan, 1969, pp. 108–9, nos. 100E (Baptist), 100F (Lucy), ill., believes the two MMA panels flanked the Deposition on the front of the altarpiece and the two Altenburg panels flanked the Assumption on the back.
Carlo Pedretti. Leonardo architetto. [Milan], , pp. 144, 147, elaborates on the idea that Leonardo da Vinci contributed to the design of the altarpiece.
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, p. 60, state that all six saints flanked the Assumption; discuss the possibility that the MMA-Chicago predella may have formed part of the altarpiece [see Ref. Zeri 1964].
Keith Christiansen inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1981–1982. New York, , pp. 38–39, ill. (color), believes that the two MMA panels probably flanked the Deposition on the front of the altarpiece, the two Altenburg panels flanked the Assumption, and the two cut-down panels decorated the sides of the altarpiece.
Pietro Scarpellini. Perugino. Milan, 1984, pp. 113–15, nos. 148 (Baptist), 149 (Lucy), figs. 244 (Baptist), 245 (Lucy), tentatively identifies Saint Lucy as Saint Illuminata of Todi; suggests that the two Altenburg panels flanked the Deposition on the front of the altarpiece and that Saints Nicholas of Tolentino and Catherine may have also decorated the front, possibly with two other smaller panels; believes that the Baptist flanked the Assumption on the other side of the altarpiece, paired with either an unidentified saint or Saint Lucy, along with two or four other smaller panels.
Filippo Todini. La pittura umbra dal Duecento al primo Cinquecento. Milan, 1989, vol. 1, pp. 263–66, 268, 271.
Keith Christiansen The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Metropolitan Paintings In and Out of Context. 1990 [m.s. pp. 18–23], adding to his proposed reconstruction of the altarpiece from Ref. 1982, suggests that when the two central panels of the altarpiece were removed in 1546, the two side panels were also removed, cut down, and placed above the two Altenburg saints on the back of the altarpiece; states that a document of 1566 in the Florence archives records payment for rotating the entire altarpiece 180 degrees, so that the two MMA panels would then have been facing the choir of the church.
Alessandro Cecchi. "Percorso di Baccio d'Agnolo legnaiuolo e architetto fiorentino dagli esordi al palazzo Borgherini: 1." Antichità viva 29 (January–February 1990), p. 39.
Jonathan Nelson. "The Later Works of Filippino Lippi from his Roman Sojourn until his Death (ca. 1489–1504)." PhD diss., New York University, 1992, p. 253.
Jonathan Nelson. "The High Altar-piece of SS. Annunziata in Florence: History, Form, and Function." Burlington Magazine 139 (February 1997), p. 89, figs. 4 (Baptist), 5 (Lucy), identifies the male figure in Altenburg as the Blessed Francis of Siena and the male figure in Rome as the Blessed Filippo Benizzi; follows Christiansen [see Refs. 1982, 1990] regarding the disposition of the six panels, adding that Filippo would originally have appeared on the short side between Francis and the Baptist and Catherine on the side between Helen and Lucy; finds no evidence that the altarpiece had a predella [see Ref. Zeri 1964].
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. 272, 274, 291, states that the altarpiece probably included a predella painted by Perugino, possibly the Chicago-New York predella [see Ref. Zeri 1964].
Joseph Antenucci Becherer. Pietro Perugino: Master of the Italian Renaissance. Exh. cat., Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, Mich. New York, 1997, pp. 111–12, 114, 123 nn. 33–34, figs. 41a (Baptist), 41b (Lucy), states that the Linskys bought the two MMA panels from Rosenberg & Stiebel in 1961; concurs with Christiansen [see Ref. 1982] in believing that these two panels originally flanked the Deposition on the front of the altarpiece; notes that the Chicago-New York predella is considered to have been part of the altarpiece.
Lorenza Mochi Onori in Lorenza Mochi Onori and Rossella Vodret. Capolavori della Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica: Palazzo Barberini. [Rome], 1998, p. 30, under no. 14.
Vittoria Garibaldi. Perugino, catalogo completo. Florence, 1999, pp. 140–41, no. 74, ill., states that it is not possible to know either exactly how many paintings comprised the altarpiece or exactly how they were arranged; finds it possible that the Chicago-New York predella may have formed part of the altarpiece.
Eugenio M. Casalini. "La 'tavola' dell'altare maggiore dell'Annunziata di Firenze." Studi storici dell'Ordine dei Servi di Roma 51 (2001), pp. 22–24, figs. 9B (Baptist), 11B (Lucy), reconstructs the altarpiece with Saints John the Baptist and Helen flanking the Deposition, the Blessed Francis of Siena and Saint Lucy on the sides, and Saints Filippo Benizzi and Catherine on the reverse; suggests that the figure of Saint Lucy embodies the three theological virtues: Faith (chalice), Hope (upward gaze), and Charity (flame).
Federica Papi inAthanasius Kircher: il museo del mondo. Ed. Eugenio Lo Sardo. Exh. cat., Palazzo di Venezia. Rome, 2001, p. 314, under no. VI.14.
Jonathan Katz Nelson. "La pala per l'altar maggiore della Santissima Annunziata: la funzione, la commissione, i dipinti e la cornice." Filippino Lippi e Pietro Perugino: la "Deposizione" della Santissima Annunziata e il suo restauro. Ed. Franca Falletti and Jonathan Katz Nelson. Livorno, 2004, pp. 29, 36, 42 n. 60, figs. 6 (Baptist), 13 (Lucy).
Francesco Federico Mancini inPerugino: il divin pittore. Ed. Vittoria Garibaldi and Francesco Federico Mancini. Exh. cat., Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria, Perugia. Cinisello Balsamo (Milan), 2004, pp. 278–79, no. I.49b, ill. (color, Lucy).
Ranieri Varese. "Giovanni Santi e Pietro Perugino." Pietro Vannucci, il Perugino. Ed. Laura Teza. Perugia, 2004, pp. 186, 189 n. 20, fig. 18, believes the poses of the figures derive from a series of apostles by Giovanni Santi (Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino).
Jonathan K. Nelson inDa Allegretto Nuzi a Pietro Perugino. Ed. Fabrizio Moretti and Gabriele Caioni. Exh. cat., Moretti. Florence, 2005, pp. 156–58 n. 8, pp. 161–63, figs. 5 (Lucy), 6 (Baptist), ill. p. 154 (reconstruction), notes that the female figure could depict either Saint Lucy or Saint Illuminata of Todi.
Jonathan K. Nelson inPerugino a Firenze: qualità e fortuna d'uno stile. Ed. Rosanna Caterina Proto Pisani. Exh. cat., Cenacolo di Fuligno. Florence, 2005, pp. 190–91, ill. p. 194 (reconstruction), under nos. 46–47.
Horton A. Johnson. "The Renaissance Fifth Finger." Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 98 (February 2005), p. 87, fig. 1 (detail of Saint John).
Linda Wolk-Simon. "Raphael at the Metropolitan: The Colonna Altarpiece." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 63 (Spring 2006), p. 71, nos. 24A, 24B, ill. (color).
Robert G. La France. Bachiacca: Artist of the Medici Court. Florence, 2008, p. 251, relates the Saint Lucy to a Saint Barbara depicted on the cassock of Saint Lawrence in a painting by Bachiacca (lost; formerly Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg, Potsdam).
Wiebke Fastenrath Vinattieri. "Studien zu Aufbau, Malerei und Ikonographie des ehemaligen Hochaltars von Santissima Annunziata in Florenz." Pietro Perugino: Die hl. Margarethe von Antiochia und der sel. Franziskus von Siena. Altenburg, 2011, pp. 7, 17, 19, 21–22, 24–33, fig. 22 (reconstruction from Ref. Nelson 2005), colorpls. I–III(reconstructions), VI (Baptist), IX (Lucy), identifies the female saint in Altenburg as Margaret of Antioch, rather than Helen; proposes a reconstruction with John the Baptist and Catherine flanking the Deposition on the front, Margaret and Lucy flanking the Assumption on the back, Filippo Benizzi on the left side, and Francis of Siena on the right.
Michela Ulivi inAntoniazzo Romano, Pictor Urbis: 1435/1440–1508. Ed. Anna Cavallaro and Stefano Petrocchi. Exh. cat., Palazzo Barberini, Rome. Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, 2013, p. 100, under no. 17.
Giovanni Luca Delogu inLe Pérugin: maître de Raphaël. Exh. cat., Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris. Brussels, 2014, p. 156, under nos. 40–41.
Artist: Perugino (Pietro di Cristoforo Vannucci) (Italian, Città della Pieve, active by 1469–died 1523 Fontignano) Date: 1500Medium: Metalpoint on pale pink-beige prepared paperAccession: 1972.118.265On view in:Not on view
Artist: Workshop of Perugino (Pietro di Cristoforo Vannucci) (Italian, Città della Pieve, active by 1469–died 1523 Fontignano) ? Date: 1490–1505Medium: Pen and brown ink, over leadpoint(?)Accession: 80.3.199On view in:Not on view
Artist: Perugino (Pietro di Cristoforo Vannucci) (Italian, Città della Pieve, active by 1469–died 1523 Fontignano) Date: 1489–90Medium: Brush and brown wash, highlighted with white gouache, on gray-green prepared paper (recto); pen and brown ink on unprepared off-white paper (verso)Accession: 1993.327On view in:Not on view
Artist: After Perugino (Pietro di Cristoforo Vannucci) (Italian, Città della Pieve, active by 1469–died 1523 Fontignano) ? Date: 1495–1510Medium: Metalpoint, reworked with brush and brown wash, highlighted with white gouache, on beige prepared paperAccession: 80.3.197On view in:Not on view
Artist: Circle of Perugino (Pietro di Cristoforo Vannucci) (Italian, Città della Pieve, active by 1469–died 1523 Fontignano) Date: late 15th–early 16th centuryMedium: Tip of the brush and black ink, black wash, traces of black chalk, heightened with white, on dark brown tinted paper.Accession: 1975.1.399On view in:Not on view