Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Artist: Workshop of Fra Filippo Lippi (Italian, Florence ca. 1406–1469 Spoleto)

Date: ca. 1447–1469

Culture: Italian, Florence

Medium: Tempera and gold on wood

Dimensions: 19 x 5 in. (48.3 x 12.7 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Robert Lehman Collection, 1975

Accession Number: 1975.1.70B

Description

This painting and another depicting an unidentified male saint, which also belongs to the Lehman Collection (1975.1.70A), formed part of a group of eighteen panels depicting saints (now in the Courtauld Institute Gallery, London; Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts; Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Honolulu Academy of Arts, Hawaii; University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia; and on the art market, 1985), which may have adorned a sacristy cupboard. The figures in the series appear to have been executed by three different hands, several of which may derive from drawings by the early fifteenth-century Florentine artist Fra Filippo Lippi. The two Lehman panels are the most distinguished in the series, although the artist responsible for them -- a member of Lippi's workshop -- cannot be identified.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the twelfth-century French abbot, appears here in the white robes of the Cistercian order, which he founded. The small devil poses no threat to the saint. Bernard persuaded princes and ordinary citizens alike to embark for the Holy Land. But waves of misguided fervor also resulted in attacks on Jews in the Rhineland.

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