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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Saint Peter Martyr Healing the Leg of a Young Man

Antonio Vivarini (Italian, Venice, active by 1441–died 1476/84)
Tempera and gold on wood
20 7/8 x 13 1/8 in. (53 x 33.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1937
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 627
This painting belongs to a series of eight scenes that would have been arranged around an image or statue of Saint Peter Martyr (1205–1252). Here the saint ministers to a youth who had kicked his mother and cut off his leg in remorse. A genial storyteller, Antonio sets the scene in a carpenter’s shop. Together with his younger brother Bartolomeo, his partner Giovanni d’Allemagna (who died in 1450), and his son Alvise, Antonio established a family enterprise in Venice surpassed in prestige only by that of Jacopo Bellini and his sons.
Giovanni Vianelli, Chioggia (in 1790; cat., 1790, as by Bartolomeo Vivarini); Achillito Chiesa, Milan (until 1927; sale, American Art Association, New York, November 22–23, 1927, no. 109, as "The Miracle of St. Domenico," by Jacopo Bellini, for $2,400 to Steinmeyer); [F. Steinmeyer, Lucerne, 1927]; [F. Steinmeyer, Lucerne, and Julius Böhler, Munich, 1927–29; sold to Lugt]; [Frits Lugt, Amsterdam, from 1929]; [Martin Asscher, London, until 1937]; [conte Alessandro Contini Bonacossi, Florence, 1937; as by Antonio Vivarini, sold to Kress]; Samuel H. Kress, New York (1937)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Venetian Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum," May 1–September 2, 1974, no catalogue.

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.

Catalogo di quadri esistenti in casa il Signor D.n Giovanni D.r Vianelli, canonico della cattedrale di Chioggia. Venice, 1790, p. 28, as by Bartolomeo Vivarini.

Georg Pudelko. "Ein Petrus-Martyr-Altar des Antonio Vivarini." Pantheon 20 (September 1937), pp. 283–86, fig. 3, attributes it to Antonio Vivarini; connects it with three additional scenes from the life of Saint Peter Martyr (two in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, and one in the Art Institute of Chicago) [see Notes], suggesting that the four panels originally formed part of a large altarpiece from the church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, Venice; calls them late works, dating them between 1458 and 1462.

Margaretta M. Salinger in "A Gift of Two Italian Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 33 (January 1938), pp. 8–10, ill., dates it to the 1460s.

"New Metropolitan Pictures." Art News 36 (Janauary 15, 1938), p. 13.

Art in America 26 (April 1938), p. 92, ill. p. 89.

Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, pp. 173–74, ill.

Roberto Longhi. Viatico per cinque secoli di pittura veneziana. Florence, 1946, pp. 50–51, pl. 27, calls it a miracle of Saint Vincent Ferrer; dates it between 1450 and 1460.

Giuseppe Fiocco. "Le pitture venete del Castello di Konopiste." Arte veneta 2 (1948), pp. 20, 25, fig. 20, accepts Pudelko's [see Ref. 1937] grouping of the four panels, and his suggested provenance of SS. Giovanni e Paolo; tentatively attributes them to Antonio Vivarini and tentatively identifies the saint as either Peter Martyr or Vincent Ferrer.

Luigi Coletti. Pittura veneta del Quattrocento. Novara, 1953, p. XXIX, pl. 52b, attributes it to Antonio Vivarini, dates it possibly after 1450, and identifies the saint as Vincent Ferrer.

Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School. London, 1957, vol. 1, p. 198, pl. 83, lists it as by Antonio Vivarini.

Rodolfo Pallucchini. I Vivarini. Venice, [1962], pp. 27–29, 97–98, fig. 22, adds a panel depicting the funeral of Saint Peter Martyr (Mario Crespi, Milan) to the series; dates the panels close to the dismembered Santa Monica altarpiece of about 1441.

Fern Rusk Shapley. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Vol. 2, Italian Schools: XV–XVI Century. London, 1968, pp. 31–32, no. K1116, fig. 71, adds two more panels to the series, "Peter Martyr Exorcising a Demon Disguised as the Madonna and Child" (sold, Palais Galliéra, Paris, April 11, 1962, no. 7) and "The Virgins Appearing to Peter Martyr" (sold, Palais Galliéra, Paris, June 27, 1963, no. 216), noting that a now lost eighth panel depicting the death of the saint probably completed the series; states that the scenes probably flanked a central panel depicting a full-length figure of the saint; remarks that a date of about 1450/60 is generally accepted.

Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 211, 444, 607.

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, pp. 89–90, pl. 100, date it to the 1450s; state that the central panel was probably either a painted or sculpted full-length figure of Saint Peter Martyr.

Fern Rusk Shapley. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Vol. 3, Italian Schools: XVI–XVIII Century. London, 1973, p. 389, Addenda.

George Kaftal with the collaboration of Fabio Bisogni. Iconography of the Saints in the Painting of North East Italy. Florence, 1978, col. 848.

George Bisacca and Laurence B. Kanter in Italian Renaissance Frames. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1990, p. 19, fig. 11.

Christopher Lloyd. Italian Paintings before 1600 in the Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Collection. Chicago, 1993, pp. 296, 298–99, fig. 3, dates the panels to the 1440s; believes that all the panels originally had trefoil-shaped frames with cusped arches; suggests a comparison with the four altarpieces dedicated to Dominican saints painted for the church of San Domenico in Modena by Simone Lamberti and the degli Erri.

Patricia Meilman. Titian and the Altarpiece in Renaissance Venice. Cambridge, 2000, p. 16.

Saint Peter Martyr, a member of the Dominican order, was born in Verona in 1205 and was assassinated in 1252. He was canonized by Pope Innocent IV in 1253.

This scene depicts Saint Peter Martyr miraculously healing a young man who, remorseful at having kicked his mother, had cut off his leg.

Six additional panels originally formed part of the same dismembered altarpiece: Peter Martyr Received into the Dominican Order and Peter Martyr and the Miraculous Fire (both Gemäldegalerie, Berlin), Peter Martyr Exorcising a Woman Possessed by a Devil (George F. Harding Collection, Art Institute of Chicago; formerly Paolini, Rome), Peter Martyr Exorcising the Devil Disguised as the Madonna and Child (location unknown; sold, Palais Galliéra, Paris, April 11, 1962, no. 7), The Virgins Appearing to Peter Martyr (conte Leonardo Vitetti, Rome), and The Funeral of Peter Martyr (Mario Crespi, Milan). A lost eighth panel probably depicted the death of the saint. The central panel, also lost, was probably a full-length image of the saint.
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