This panel is part of a cycle of scenes depicting the life of the hermit Saint Anthony Abbot. The painter's penchant for original and descriptive narrative detail appears in the treatment of the desert landscape and its fauna (symbols of the saint's temptations) beneath the luminous sky at dusk. A pot of gold in the lower left corner (which has been scraped away) symbolized the seductive worldly goods that the stalwart saint resists. The series of eight panels were likely arranged vertically, surrounding a central painted or sculpted image of Saint Anthony. The complex was probably commissioned for a member of the Sienese Martinozzi family (whose arms appear on one of the panels) for an Augustinian foundation, either in Siena or perhaps in the Marches region, where several branches of this family were located. This panel is the sixth in a series of eight that includes Saint Anthony at Mass (Gemäldegalerie, SMPK, Berlin); Saint Anthony Distributing His Wealth and Saint Anthony Blessed by an Old Hermit (both National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.); Saint Anthony Tempted by the Devil in the Guise of a Woman and Saint Anthony Beaten by Devils (both Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven); and Journey and Meeting of Saint Anthony with Saint Paul the Hermit and Funeral of Saint Anthony (both National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.). The enigmatic Osservanza Master has variously been identified as Sassetta and also as the young Sano di Pietro, based on close stylistic affinities with these other Sienese artists. It is also possible that the paintings attributed to the Osservanza Master, including the altarpiece from which this panel originated, are the product of a collaborative workshop to which these artists belonged.
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Title:Saint Anthony the Abbot in the Wilderness
Artist:Osservanza Master (Italian, Siena, active second quarter 15th century)
Prince Léon Ouroussoff, Vienna; acquired by Philip Lehman before 1924.
Mary Logan Berenson. "Il Sassetta e la legenda di S. Antonio Abate." Rassegna d'arte 11 (1911), pp. 202-203.
William E. Suida. Öesterreichische Kunstschätze. Vol. 1, New York, 1911, no. 58.
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Osvald Sirén. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Pictures in the Jarves Collection Belonging to Yale University. New Haven, 1916, p. 153.
Osvald Sirén and Maurice W. Brockwell. Catalogue of a Loan Exhibition of Italian Primitives. Exh. cat., F. Kleinberger Galleries, Inc. New York, 1917, p. 138.
F. Mason Perkins. "Some Sienese Paintings in American Collections: Part Four." Art in America 9 (February 1921), pp. 13-15. Fig. 5.
Luigi Dami. "Giovanni di Paolo miniatore e I paesisti senesi." Dedalo 4 (1923–1924), pp. 286, 292, fig. opposite p. 286.
Duveen Brothers. Loan Exhibition of Important Early Italian Paintings at the Galleries of Duveen Brothers. Exh. cat.New York, 1924, no. 29.
W. R. Valentiner. A Catalogue of Early Italian Paintings Exhibited at the Duveen Galleries New York: April to May, 1924. New York, 1926, Pl. 29.
Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. Vol. 9, Late Gothic Painting in Tuscany. The Hague, 1927, p. 320.
Richard Offner. Italian Primitives at Yale University: Comments & Revisions. New Haven, 1927, pp. 7, 39-40.
Helen Comstock. "Paintings by Sassetta in America." International Studio 88 (October 1927), pp. 35-41. Fig. on p. 36.
Robert Lehman. The Philip Lehman Collection, New York: Paintings. Paris, 1928, Pl. 39
Emilio Cecchi. Les peintres siennois . Paris, 1928, pp.127, 149, Pl. 251.
August L. Mayer. "Die Sammlung Philip Lehman." Pantheon 5 (1930), p. 113.
Emilio Lavagnino. "The Origin of Sienese Landscape Painting." International Studio 96 (1930), p. 29. Fig. 12.
Lionello Venturi. Pitture italiane in America. Milan, 1931, Pl. 123.
Alfred M. Frankfurter. "Masterpieces of Landscape Painting in American Collections." Fine Arts 18 (December 1931), p. 23.
Emilio Cecchi. The Sienese Painters of the Trecento. New York, 1931, pp. 139, 165, Pl. 251.
Ellis K. Waterhouse. "Sassetta and the Legend of St. Anthony Abbot." The Burlington Magazine 59 (1931), pp. 108-113. Pl. 1d.
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 513.
Maria Luisa Gengaro. "Sogno e realta nella primitiva arte senese." La Diana 7 (1932), pp. 151-159, Pl. 6.
Georg Gronau. "On Some Drawings of the Sienese School." Old Master Drawings 7 (1932), p. 2.
Maria Luisa Gengaro. "Il primitivo del Quattrocento senese: Stefano di Giovanni detto il Sassetta." La Diana 8 (1933), pp. 11, 24.
John Pope-Hennessy. Sassetta. London, 1939, pp. 69-71, 80, 82, 83, 86, 92, 94, 95. Pl. 11 n. 59.
Roberto Longhi. "Fatti di Masolino e di Masaccio." Critica d'arte 5, facs. 25-26 (1940), pp. 188-189 n. 26.
Bernard Berenson. Sassetta: Un pittore senese della leggenda francescana. Florence, 1946, pp. 40, 42, 43, 58 n. 17. Fig. 43.
Enzo Carli. Capolavori dell'arte senese. Florence, 1946, p. 59.
Paintings and Bronzes from the Collection of Mr. Robert Lehman. Exh. cat., Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Colorado Springs, 1951, Pl. 8
George Kaftal. Iconography of the Saints in Tuscan Painting. Florence, 1952, p. 67. Fig. 67.
Charles Seymour Jr. "The Jarves 'Sassettas' and the St. Anthony Altarpiece." The Journal of the Walters Art Museum 15/16 (1952–1953), p. 33 n. 2.
Theodore Allen Heinrich. "The Lehman Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12 (April 1954), p. 218, Fig. on p. 221.
Gallienne Francastel. Du Byzantin à la Renaissance. Paris, 1955, p. 162.
John Pope-Hennessy. "Rethinking Sassetta." Burlington Magazine 98 (October 1956), pp. 364-370.
Federico Zeri. "Towards a Reconstruction of Sassetta's Arte della Lana Triptych." The Burlington Magazine 98 (1956), pp. 36-41.
Charles Sterling, ed. Exposition de la collection Lehman de New York. Exh. cat., Musée de l'Orangerie. Paris, 1957, p. 40, no. 48, pl. 10.
Enzo Carli. Sassetta e il Maestro dell'Osservanza. Milan, 1957, p. 106. Fig. 123, pl. 45.
Michel Laclotte. "A propos des primitifs italiens de la collection Lehman." L’information d’histoire de l’art 2 (1957), pp. 50-51.
The Lehman Collection. Exh. cat.Cincinnati, 1959, Pl. 25.
Fern Rusk Shapley. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Vol. 1, Italian Schools: XIII–XV Century. London, 1966, pp. 141-143.
Hans L. C. Jaffé. 20,000 Years of World Painting. New York, 1967, Fig. on p. 152.
George Szabó. The Robert Lehman Collection: A Guide. New York, 1975, p. 50. Pl. 16.
George Szabo. Masterpieces of Italian Drawing in the Robert Lehman Collection. New York, 1983, p. 9, fig. 6.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York, 1983, p. 317.
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John Russell. "Masterpieces From Old Siena On Display at the Met Museum." The New York Times (1988), p. C19, C25.
Keith Christiansen. "Notes on 'Painting in Renaissance Siena'." Burlington Magazine 132 (March 1990), pp. 205-213.
Timothy Hyman. Sienese Painting: The Art of a City-Republic (1278-1477). New York, 2003, pp. 185-186. Fig. 158.
"Osservanza Master: Saint Anthony Abbot Tempted by a Heap of Gold (1975.1.27)." Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York, 2006.
Rudolf Hiller von Gaertringen. "Simone Martinis Monument für den Seligen Agostino Novello und die Frage seines Nachwirkens." Das Modell in der bildenden Kunst des Mittelalters und der Neuzeit (2006), Fig. 4.
Gabriele Fattorini. Jacopo della Quercia e l'inizio del Rinascimento a Siena. Florence, 2008, pp. 266-269.
Andrea De Marchi inDa Jacopo della Quercia a Donatello: le arti a Siena nel primo rinascimento. Ed. Max Seidel. Exh. cat., Santa Maria della Scala et al., Siena. Milan, 2010, pp. 267-271, no. C.34.e.
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