Pietro Vannucci, called Perugino after the city in which he often lived, collaborated with other celebrated painters in one of the most prestigious commissions of the late fifteenth century -- the decoration of the walls of the Sistine Chapel in 1481-1482. He headed active workshops in Perugia and Florence, where he would eventually be overshadowed by his greatest pupil, Raphael.
Perugino's Crucifixion with Saints, painted for a chapel in the Dominican church in San Gimignano near Siena, shows Christ hanging on the cross with Mary and Saint John the Evangelist at his feet. In the two side panels, Saint Jerome with his lion, and Mary Magdalene gaze up at the figure of Christ. However, the work does not attempt to depict the actual event or place, but is a visual meditation on the theme of the Crucifixion. The serene mood is reflected in the landscape, which also reveals the influence of Flemish painting which had recently been introduced into Florence.
From the late seventeenth to the early twentieth century Perugino's Crucifixion was thought to be the work of his pupil Raphael. When it was discovered that the donor of the triptych died in 1497, when Raphael would have been only fourteen, Perugino's authorship once again became clear.
Marks and Labels
Probably commissioned by Bartolommeo Bartoli (or di Bartolo), Bishop of Cagli [d. 1497]; by gift from him to the church of San Domenico, San Gimignano; seized 1796/1797 by Napoleonic troops; acquired 1796/1797 by Dr. Buzzi, and sold soon thereafter to Prince Alexander Mikhailovich Galitzin [1772-1821], Russian ambassador to Rome; by inheritance to his son, Theodore Alexandrovich Galitzin [d. 1848], Palazzo Galitzin, Rome; by inheritance to his nephew, Sergei Mikhailovich Galitzin [1843-1915], Moscow; displayed from 1865 at the Museum of Western European Painting of Prince S.M. Galitzin, Moscow; purchased 1886 with the Galitzin collection by the Imperial Hermitage Gallery, St. Petersburg; purchased April 1931 through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London and New York; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York and London) by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 5 June 1931 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.
- Raphael and America, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1983, no. 52, pl. 7.
- The Flowering of Florence, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2002, no. 4, repro.
- Golitzyn Museum in Volkhonka Street, State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, 2004.
- Bertini-Casosso, Achille. "Perugino." In Enciclopedia Italiana. 36 vols. Rome, 1929-1939. Rome, 1935: 26: pl.219
- Jewell, Edward Alden. "Mellon's Gift." Magazine of Art 30, no. 2 (February 1937): 82.
- Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 148-149, no. 27.
- Book of Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 239, repro. 164.
- Paintings and Sculpture from the Mellon Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1949 (reprinted 1953 and 1958): 25, repro.
- Einstein, Lewis. Looking at Italian Pictures in the National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1951: 54-57, repro.
- Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds., Great Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1952: 36, color repro.
- Shapley, Fern Rusk. Comparisons in Art: A Companion to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. London, 1957 (reprinted 1959): pl. 23
- Shapley, Fern Rusk. Early Italian Painting in the National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1959 (Booklet Number Three in Ten Schools of Painting in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.): 32, color repro., as The Crucifixion with Saints.
- The National Gallery of Art and Its Collections. Foreword by Perry B. Cott and notes by Otto Stelzer. National Gallery of Art, Washington (undated, 1960s): 24.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 88, repro.
- Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 100.
- Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 1:122, color repro.
- European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 88, repro.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 262, repro.
- Shapley, Fern Rusk. Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. 2 vols. Washington, 1979: I:360-361, II:pl. 259.
- Watson, Ross. The National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1979: 32, pl. 15.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 106, no. 77, color repro.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 302, repro.
- Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 91, 92, color repro.
- National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1992: 23, repro.
- Neverov, Oleg, and Mikhail Piotrovsky. The Hermitage: Essays on the History of the Collection, Saint Petersburg, 1997, p. 166, repro.
- Christiansen, Keith. "The View From Italy." In From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Edited by Maryan W. Ainsworth and Keith Christiansen. Exh. cat, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998. New York, 1998: 41-43, fig. 22.
- Shefer, Elain. "Death." In Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography, edited by Helene E. Roberts. 2 vols. Chicago, 1998: 1:231.
- Boskovits, Miklós, and David Alan Brown, et al. Italian Paintings of the Fifteenth Century. The Systematic Catalogue of the National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 2003: 552-556, color repro.
- Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 34-35, no. 24, color repro.
- Hartt, Frederick and David G. Wilkins. History of Italian Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture. 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, 2006: 377-378, color fig. 14.19.
- Odom, Anne, and Wendy R. Salmond, eds. Treasures into Tractors: The Selling of Russia's Cultural Heritage, 1918-1938. Washington, D.C., 2009:
- Fiedler, Susanne, and Torsten Knuth. "Vexierbilder einer Biographie: Dr. Heinz Mansfeld (1899-1959)." Mecklenburgische Jahrbücher 126 (2011):308.
- Lane, Barbara G. “Hans Memling: vita e opere.” In Memling: Rinasimento fiammingo, ed. Till-Holger Borchert. Exh. cat. Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome, 2014-2015. Milan, 2014: 46-47, color fig. 8. the NGA painting was in the exhibition.)