Six other panels from the series are known. All were owned by the German painter and collector Johann Anton Ramboux in the nineteenth century, and they formed either the predella or a row of figures above the main panels of an altarpiece. The saints were originally painted on one panel with a continuous frame (the frames are original, but have been painted an anomalous brown). The figures are based on cartoons prepared by Simone in the 1320s, but the execution was certainly entrusted to assistants. The panels have suffered from past cleanings.
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Artist:Workshop of Simone Martini (Italian, Siena, active by 1315–died 1344 Avignon)
Medium:Tempera on wood, gold ground
Dimensions:Overall, with arched top and engaged frame, 11 5/8 x 8 5/8 in. (29.5 x 21.9 cm); painted surface 10 3/8 x 7 3/4 in. (26.4 x 19.7 cm)
Credit Line:Maitland F. Griggs Collection, Bequest of Maitland F. Griggs, 1943
These four panels are part of a series originally showing the twelve apostles of Christ. Six others are known: a Saint Philip formerly in the Lehman collection (sold, Christie's, New York, January 11, 1991, no. 12); Saints Matthew, Simon, James the Great, and Thaddeus in the National Gallery of Art, Washington; and a Saint James the Less in the Salini collection, near Siena (formerly Stoclet collection, Brussels). The series must also have included Saints Peter and John and, possibly, a Christ. They would either have formed the predella of a large altarpiece or a row of saints above the main register, as in Simone Martini's altarpiece at Pisa of 1319–20. The rows of saints in that altarpiece are shown beneath more complex, trilobite arches, probably indicating an earlier date for the series to which our panels belong. An analogy is provided by the predella of Simone Martini's altarpiece in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples, showing Saint Louis of Toulouse, dated 1317, or an altarpiece by Duccio in the Pinacoteca, Siena, painted perhaps around 1311–19. A plausible date for the altarpiece to which our saints belonged would be around 1317–19. This must have been a large altarpiece, measuring perhaps about 100 inches (250 cm) across. None of the main panels have been identified. The poses of the various figures are animated, and various details, such as the books, are imagined as resting on the frames, which are original (their silver is tarnished). The figures were unquestionably designed and their execution supervised by Simone Martini, who ran a large and busy workshop.
Keith Christiansen 2010
Inscription: Inscribed (background): ·SANTVS ThOMAS
Johann Anton Ramboux, Cologne (by 1832/42–d. 1866; cat., 1862, no. 75, as by Lippo Memmi; his estate sale, J. M. Heberle [H. Lempertz], Cologne, May 23, 1867, no. 75, ten panels for 800 Taler with additional paintings to Wallraf-Richartz Museum); Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne (1867–1922; cat., 1869 [and later eds.], no. 750; sold to Burg); [Hermann Burg, Cologne, from 1922]; [Edward Hutton, London, until 1924; sold to Griggs]; Maitland F. Griggs, New York (1924–d. 1943)
New York. Century Association. "Italian Primitive Paintings," February 15–March 12, 1930, no. 30 (lent by Maitland Fuller Griggs) [see Zeri and Gardner 1980].
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Maitland F. Griggs Collection," Winter 1944, no catalogue.
New York. American Federation of Arts. "Saints (circulating exhibition)," January 1951–September 1952, no catalogue?
J[ohann]. A[nton]. Ramboux. Katalog der Gemälde alter italienischer Meister (1221–1640) in der Sammlung des Conservator J. A. Ramboux. Cologne, 1862, p. 15, no. 75, lists the ten panels of apostles [see Notes] as by Lippo Memmi and dates them about 1340; compares them with frescoes in the town hall in San Gimignano.
J. A. Crowe and G. B. Cavalcaselle. A History of Painting in Italy from the Second to the Fourteenth Century. Vol. 2, London, 1864, pp. 105–6 n. 4, attribute the ten panels to Memmi.
Katalog des Museums Wallraf-Richartz in Köln. Cologne, 1869, p. 137, no. 750, attributes the panels to Lippo Memmi and dates them about 1340.
Bernhard Berenson. The Central Italian Painters of the Renaissance. reprinted 1903. New York, 1897, p. 148, lists the ten panels as by Memmi.
A[dolfo]. Venturi. Storia dell'arte italiana. Vol. 5, La pittura del Trecento e le sue origini. Milan, 1907, p. 667 n. 1 (continued from p. 666), mentions "parecchi busti di Apostoli (?)" in Cologne as attributed to Memmi by Berenson (1897).
Mary Logan Berenson. Letter. January 2, 1925, writes that her husband has tentatively suggested that the four Griggs panels might be early works by Lippo Vanni.
Richard Offner. Lecture at Maitland F. Griggs' house. January 19, 1925, calls the four Griggs panels "obviously Simonesque".
Louis Gielly. Les primitifs siennois. Paris, 1926, p. 111, lists the panels as by Memmi.
Raimond van Marle. Letter. February 1, 1926, attributes the four Griggs panels to an immediate follower of Simone Martini.
Robert Lehman. The Philip Lehman Collection, New York: Paintings. Paris, 1928, unpaginated, under pl. XXIII, mentions that Griggs has some panels from the same series as the Lehman works, which he attributes to Simone Martini.
Lionello Venturi. Pitture italiane in America. Milan, 1931, unpaginated, pl. LXIII (with Saint Andrew).
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 534, lists the four Griggs panels as from Simone's workshop.
Lionello Venturi. Italian Paintings in America. Vol. 1, Romanesque and Gothic. New York, 1933, unpaginated, pl. 79 (with Saint Andrew), attributes the ten panels to Memmi, stating that, together with two additional figures of apostles and one of Christ (all lost), they probably formed the predella of an altarpiece.
Raimond van Marle. Le scuole della pittura italiana. Vol. 2, La scuola senese del XIV secolo. The Hague, 1934, p. 258 n. 1 (continued from pp. 256–57), lists the four Griggs panels as by the school of Simone.
Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 459.
[F. Mason] Perkins inAllgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Vol. 31, Leipzig, 1937, p. 67, suggests that the series was executed in Simone's workshop, after his designs.
Alfred M. Frankfurter. "The Maitland F. Griggs Collection." Art News 35 (May 1, 1937), p. 155, attributes the series to Simone, but believes that at least two of the panels may be by a different hand; states that the works originally formed a predella.
Pietro Toesca. Il Trecento. Turin, 1951, p. 551 n. 75, includes these four panels among works that can almost certainly be attributed to Memmi.
Josephine L. Allen and Elizabeth E. Gardner. A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 64.
Theodore Allen Heinrich. "The Lehman Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12 (April 1954), p. 218, mentions the four Griggs panels as companions to the Lehman Saint Philip, which he attributes to Simone Martini.
Gertrude Coor. "Trecento-Gemälde aus der Sammlung Ramboux." Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch 18 (1956), pp. 116, 118–19, attributes the ten panels to Simone's workshop, after his design, and identifies them as either the predella or the upper register of a large polyptych.
Charles Sterling, ed. Exposition de la collection Lehman de New York. Exh. cat., Musée de l'Orangerie. Paris, 1957, pp. 42–43, under no. 51, attributes the series to the workshop of Simone and states that it consists of twelve panels; finds it more likely that the series composed the upper register of a polyptych than the predella, as with Simone's altarpiece painted for the church of Santa Caterina in Pisa (now Museo Nazionale, Pisa).
Fern Rusk Shapley. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Vol. 1, Italian Schools: XIII–XV Century. London, 1966, pp. 48–49, under nos. K1350–53, attributes the series to Simone Martini and Assistants and dates it about 1320, the date of Simone's Pisa altarpiece.
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Central Italian and North Italian Schools. London, 1968, vol. 1, pp. 402–4, lists the ten panels as from Simone's workshop.
Maria Cristina Gozzoli inL'opera completa di Simone Martini. Milan, 1970, p. 105, no. 53, ill., attributes the series to Lippo Memmi and dates it about 1320; believes it probably formed the predella of a large altarpiece.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 122, 452, 608.
Arno Preiser. Das Entstehen und die Entwicklung der Predella in der italienischen Malerei. PhD diss., Julius-Maximilians-Universität, Würzburg. Hildesheim, 1973, pp. 104–5, comparing these panels to the corresponding series in Simone's Pisa altarpiece, believes that they would have formed the side galleries of a heptaptych and that the two missing panels probably depicted Peter and Paul.
Cristina De Benedictis. "A proposito di un libro su Buffalmacco." Antichità viva 13 (March–April 1974), pp. 8, 10 n. 13, attributes the series to Lippo Memmi and an assistant and suggests that, together with a figure of the Blessing Christ, the panels formed an upper register of the altarpiece to which the Museum's Saint Paul by Memmi (88.3.99) also belonged.
Michael Mallory. "An Altarpiece by Lippo Memmi Reconsidered." Metropolitan Museum Journal 9 (1974), p. 201 n. 19, tentatively suggests that the series may have formed the predella of the altarpiece by Memmi to which the Museum's Saint Paul belonged, but notes that the ten panels have a much more Simonesque style than the rest of the altarpiece [see also De Benedictis 1974].
Cristina De Benedictis. La pittura senese, 1330–1370. Florence, 1979, p. 93, lists the series as by Memmi.
Fern Rusk Shapley. Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. Washington, 1979, vol. 1, pp. 432–33, attributes the series to Simone's workshop and dates it about 1320.
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. 95–97, pl. 6, attribute the series to the workshop of Simone, stating that Simone himself seems to have been responsible for the design and that most of the execution is due to an assistant; date the panels stylistically between 1320 and 1333; believe that the series probably comes from the upper register of an altarpiece.
Andrew Martindale. Simone Martini. New York, 1988, pp. 29, 32, 35 nn. 18, 20–21, believes that the series is more likely to have formed a predella than an upper register, but adds that the resulting altarpiece would have been quite large and that none of the rest of it seems to have survived.
Giovanni Previtali. "Introduzione ai problemi della bottega di Simone Martini." Simone Martini: atti del convegno. Ed. Luciano Bellosi. Florence, 1988, p. 166 n. 23, relates the series to the row of apostles forming the predella of Meo da Siena's altarpiece in the Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria, Perugia.
Miklós Boskovits. "Review of Martindale 1988." Kunstchronik 43 (November 1990), p. 600, despite their damaged surfaces, finds their graphic elegance and intense physiognomic characterization worthy of Simone; to make his point, illustrates the Saint Andrew with the bust of an apostle in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, universally accepted as by Simone.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 42, ill. p. 43.
C[ristina]. De Benedictis inEnciclopedia dell'arte medievale. Vol. 7, Rome, 1996, p. 732, attributes the ten panels to Lippo, dates them to the 1320s, and states that they probably formed the upper register of a polyptych like the one by Simone in the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo, Pisa.
Lust und Verlust. Ed. Hiltrud Kier and Frank Günter Zehnder. Exh. cat., Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. Vol. 2, "Corpus-Band zu Kölner Gemäldesammlungen 1800–1860."Cologne, 1998, p. 552, no. 75j, ill., attributes the series to Simone's workshop and tentatively dates it about 1320.
Mojmír S. Frinta. "Part I: Catalogue Raisonné of All Punch Shapes." Punched Decoration on Late Medieval Panel and Miniature Painting. Prague, 1998, pp. 205, 351, 400, 444, ill. p. 400 (detail of punch mark), classifies the punch marks appearing in this painting.
Sabina Spannocchi inLa collezione Salini: Dipinti, sculture e oreficerie dei secoli XII, XIII, XIV e XV. Ed. Luciano Bellosi. Florence, 2009, vol. 1, pp. 132, 135–39, 141, fig. 4 (color), discusses the series in relation to the panel depicting Saint James Minor in the Salini collection.
Miklós Boskovits inLa collezione Salini: Dipinti, sculture e oreficerie dei secoli XII, XIII, XIV e XV. Ed. Luciano Bellosi. Florence, 2009, vol. 1, pp. 149–50, rejects De Benedictis's (1974) proposal that this series formed the predella of the altarpiece by Lippo Memmi to which the Museum's "Saint Paul" (88.3.99) belonged.
Miklós Boskovits. Italian Paintings of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries: The Collections of the National Gallery of Art, Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 2016, pp. 351–69, figs. 6, 15 (color), under nos. 38–41, attributes the series to Simone and dates it about 1315–20; believes that the missing apostles, Peter and John, were never included among the predella panels but instead were incorporated into the main register of the altarpiece; suggests that the central panel may have been the Madonna and Child from the church of Santa Maria Maddalena, Castiglion d'Orcia (80 x 61 cm; Museo Civico e Diocesano, Montalcino); illustrates archival photographs of all ten panels that he dates about 1925 and credits to the Galerie van Diemen, Berlin.
This picture is one of a series of ten surviving panels depicting half-figures of the apostles. The ten works were together in the collection of Johann Anton Ramboux in Cologne until his estate sale of 1867, then in the Wallraf-Richartz Museum until 1922, and were then dispersed.
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