Reader Mode
 

Cut-and-paste citation text:

Miklós Boskovits (1935–2011), “Lippo Memmi/Saint John the Baptist/probably c. 1325,” Italian Thirteenth and Fourteenth Century Paintings, NGA Online Editions, http://purl.org/nga/collection/artobject/434 (accessed August 24, 2016).

 

Export as PDF


Export from an object page includes entry, notes, images, and all menu items except overview and related contents.
Export from an artist page includes image if available, biography, notes, and bibliography.
Note: Exhibition history, provenance, and bibliography are subject to change as new information becomes available.

PDF  
 
Version Link
Mar 21, 2016 Version

You may download complete editions of this catalog from the catalog’s home page.

Overview

The inscription fragment on the scroll is from John 1:29, which reads, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” These are the words Saint John the Baptist spoke to Jesus, when Jesus encountered him baptizing beyond the Jordan River. Living in the wilderness, the saint was clothed in a camel skin, and his hair was matted—just as we see him here. This image, which has been assessed as one of Lippo Memmi’s finest works, was probably created for the church of San Giovanni Battista in the Tuscan hill town of San Gimignano, about 30 miles from Lippo’s home in Siena. It was part of an imposing altarpiece, of which five panels depicting saints (Peter, Paul, John the Evangelist, Francis, and Louis of Toulouse) have been identified in other museums. Originally, they would have been arranged on either side of a slightly larger central image, perhaps of the Madonna and Child. This painting would probably have been on the immediate left—the position of honor to the right of the central figure—as befitting the saint in his own church (see Reconstruction).

When this painting first entered the National Gallery of Art, it was attributed to Lippo’s sometime collaborator and brother-in-law, Simone Martini (Sienese, active from 1315; died 1344), whose graceful and elegant style exerted an international impact on late Gothic art. (See The Angel of the Annunciation for an example in the Gallery’s collection.) Here, though, the saint’s slender body and round face, with narrow eyes under arched brows and a long nose, point to Lippo’s unique style. So do the soft colors that complement the saint’s mood of tranquil reflection.

Entry

The panel presents the Baptist according to the traditional iconography:[1] with shaggy hair and beard, camel-skin tunic, prophetic scroll in his left hand, and right hand extended in blessing in the oriental fashion.[2] It is evidently the fragment of a polyptych whose style, format, and proportions suggest that it was executed in the circle of the Sienese master Simone Martini (Sienese, active from 1315; died 1344) around 1320–1330.[3] In the 1930s, Evelyn Sandberg-­Vavalà concluded that the painting formed part of the same polyptych to which the panel of Saint Peter [fig. 1] in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, and that of Saint Paul [fig. 2] in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York belonged. She added to these the Madonna and Child [fig. 3] in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin.[4] Some years later, Helen Comstock linked the panel being discussed here with another of Saint John the Evangelist [fig. 4], now in the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, and with those of Saints Louis of Toulouse [fig. 5] and Francis [fig. 6] in the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Siena.[5] At this point, the reconstruction of the dismantled altarpiece, consisting of seven panels, might have seemed complete. But not all art historians accepted it: some detected sufficient stylistic disparities between its separate components to cast doubt on their common origin. For example, Klara Steinweg (1956) considered the Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist and Saints Peter and Paul to be parts of two different polyptychs, the second of which might be identified, she proposed, with that recorded by Giorgio Vasari (Florentine, 1511 - 1574) as a work by Lippo Memmi in the church of San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno in Pisa.[6] Gertrude Coor (1961) also found this hypothesis attractive.[7] Though her main interest was the stylistic problems relating to the seven panels now dispersed among various museums, she cogently pointed out that the provenance of the two panels now in Siena, from Colle Val d’Elsa, rendered improbable the identification of the complex with the one in Pisa described by Vasari. Coor later developed her reconstruction of the polyptych by observing that the original frame that has survived on the panels in New Haven and Siena presupposed the existence of a second tier of smaller panels above the central Madonna and Child and the six lateral saints. In her view, a bust of Christ in the Musée de la Chartreuse in Douai and the two saints of the Vallombrosan Order in the Lindenau-­Museum in Altenburg (Germany) could have formed part of this upper register.[8] Cristina De Benedictis (1974) proposed an alternative reconstruction:[9] the panel in Washington, together with those in Berlin, New Haven, New York, and Paris, formed part of a five-part complex formerly in the church of San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno in Pisa. This altarpiece, in her view, likely would have been furnished with a predella consisting of a series of busts of apostles, now divided among the National Gallery of Art and other collections.[10] But she argued that the panels of Saint Francis and Saint Louis now in the Pinacoteca in Siena could not have formed part of it.

The hypothesis that has met with most support and that probably comes closer to the truth was formulated by Michael Mallory (1974, 1975) and by Marianne Lonjon (cited in Laclotte 1978).[11] Both accepted the reconstruction of the main register of the complex as a heptaptych with a provenance from Colle Val d’Elsa. While not excluding the possibility that the above-cited busts of apostles might have belonged to the predella of the same complex, they maintained that the upper register was formed not by the panels in Altenburg and Douai but by the half-length figures of Mary Magdalene [fig. 7] in the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence; Saint Clare [fig. 8] in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Saint Agnes [fig. 9] and Saint Anthony [fig. 10] in the Frick Art Museum in Pittsburgh; and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary [fig. 11] in the Museo Poldi Pezzoli in Milan.[12] An additional panel of the gable zone, representing a half-length Saint Augustine [fig. 12] and now belonging to the Salini collection, Asciano, has been identified in more recent years.[13] What is still lacking from the complex reconstructed in this way [fig. 13] (see also Reconstruction) is the central panel of the upper register. The central panel of the main register also remains in dispute, since the Madonna now in Berlin shows some physical discrepancies from the six lateral saints.[14] Finally, in 1995, Alessandro Bagnoli advanced convincing arguments to trace the origin of this altarpiece back to the church of San Francesco in San Gimignano.[15]

As for the authorship of the painting in the Gallery, Raimond van Marle immediately discarded the attribution to Taddeo di Bartolo proposed in the sale catalog (1932) in favor of Simone Martini.[16] The panel was published under Simone’s name by van Marle (1934), although in an expertise written as the 1934 volume was in press, presumably produced for the art dealer Jacques Goudstikker, van Marle had already suggested this attribution.[17] Various other art historians expressed similar opinions in handwritten expertises: Bernard Berenson, Giuseppe Fiocco, Roberto Longhi, Wilhelm Suida, and Adolfo Venturi.[18] The attribution to Simone was repeated by Helen Comstock (1939), Suida (1940), Robert Langton Douglas (in Duveen Pictures 1941), George Martin Richter (1941), and Alfred M. Frankfurter (1944).[19] The panel continued to bear an attribution to Simone in the catalogs of the Gallery until 1959. However, already in the 1930s, some authors expressed doubts, and some proposed an alternative attribution to Lippo Memmi (Simone’s brother-in-law). Hermann Beenken (1935) rejected Simone Martini’s authorship.[20] Guglielmo Matthiae (1935) associated the painting with Lippo Memmi, while in a private communication Robert Langton Douglas firmly supported an attribution to Lippo.[21] For his part, F. Mason Perkins referred the painting to a “pupil or follower of Simone Martini.”[22] Richard Offner, in a draft review of the exhibition of Italian primitives at the Gallery, never published, concluded his comment on the painting by pointing out, “Lippo’s style commits the Baptist to his authorship.”[23] Klara Steinweg (1956), in turn, classified the painting as “Simonesque”; Maria Cristina Gozzoli (1970) and Sebastiana Delogu Ventroni (1972) classified it as a work by Simone’s shop.[24] Giovanni Previtali (1985) felt that he could not wholly reject Simone’s personal involvement: referring to the Saint John the Baptist being discussed here and its companion panels, he asked, “Is it really possible wholly to exclude Simone’s intervention from these extraordinary quintessences of aristocratic deportment and dignified elegance?”[25] Another hypothesis that has been proposed is that the polyptych in question is the collaborative work of various painters active in Lippo’s shop, including the mythical “Barna.”[26] The date of the painting is also contested: proposals fluctuate between 1315 and 1335, even though more recent studies in general accept its execution in the 1320s.[27]

The uncertainties about the attribution and date of Saint John the Baptist depend in large measure on art historians’ different judgments about the extent of Lippo Memmi’s oeuvre and of its stylistic autonomy. Various scholars have wondered whether the changes that can be observed in the paintings attributed to him are indicative of the master’s stylistic development, or of the intervention of particularly talented assistants, such as Lippo’s brother Tederico, or others. It seems very unlikely, however, that the proportions of the figures painted in Lippo’s shop could have been elongated, the drawing given added complexity of rhythm, and the modeling softened depending on the relative talents and skills of the artist’s various collaborators. The starting point for a dispassionate consideration of the question must be the presupposition, apparently banal (though often placed in doubt), that the signed works, unless proof to the contrary is forthcoming, imply that the work in question is substantially an autograph of the artist who signed it.[28] The few secure dates at our disposal regarding the output of the two brothers-in-law, Lippo Memmi and Simone Martini, who worked in close contact at least since the 1320s, would suggest that although there is admittedly a substantial corollary between their styles, their individual characteristics never became interchangeable. I think it is right to maintain, therefore, that the polyptych of which the Washington Baptist formed part, with its slender and aristocratic figures of meditative poise and restrained movements, should be inserted in Lippo’s catalog in a phase undoubtedly subsequent to his fresco in the Palazzo Pubblico in San Gimignano (1317), but preceding the phase in which the artist signed and dated (1333) the ascetic and nervous figure of the Baptist formerly in the Golovin collection in New York, which originally formed a diptych together with the signed Madonna (no. 1081) in Berlin. In these panels, the amplitude of gold ground not occupied by figures, the pointed arch upper termination, and the pursuit of preciosity in the elaboration of the decorative elements, especially in the prominent bands of punched ornament, testify to an advanced stage in the artist’s development.[29] The external profiling of the three panels that still retain their original frame, the trapezoidal termination above the inscribed Gothic arch, and the slender pinnacles of the upper register all are features that appear more modern than those of the polyptych from the church of San Niccolò at Casciana Alta, near Pisa. In the latter, undoubtedly painted after 1323,[30] the individual panels of the altarpiece have squatter proportions and an upper termination in the form of a trilobate round arch. Moreover, the panels with rectangular external profile are surmounted by triangular gables, reviving in simplified form the type of Simone’s Pisan polyptych dating to 1319/1320. From a strictly stylistic point of view, various elements suggest a dating of the Casciana Alta complex after the altarpiece with the Triumph of Saint Thomas Aquinas in the church of Santa Caterina in Pisa, a work probably realized shortly after the saint’s canonization in 1323.[31] However prestigious a commission it may have been, that work is characterized by a more summary modeling, a more emphatic use of an incisive contour line, and a less subtle hand in exploiting soft chiaroscuro effects in modeling the forms, compared to the panels discussed here.[32]

One of Lippo’s paintings for which a plausible date is available is the polyptych of 1325 formerly over the high altar of the church of San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno in Pisa, described by Vasari in his vita of Simone and now divided among the museums of Altenburg, Douai, Palermo (Galleria Nazionale), and Pisa. This is in fact the work by Lippo that approaches most closely in style the polyptych of which our Baptist originally formed part.[33]

Despite the uncertainties that various scholars express both about the name of the artist and about its date, transmitted by the sources but often placed in doubt, it can be said with some confidence, in the light of our present-day knowledge of Trecento painting in Siena, that both Lippo’s signature and the year of execution of the Pisan polyptych are entirely plausible. Unfortunately, because of the loss of the original frames and the arbitrary alterations to the external profiling of the main panels of this altarpiece, typological comparison with the San Gimignano polyptych is no longer feasible. All we can say is that the airy composition of the individual panels and the use, at least in the gabled ones, of the pointed arch motif with inscribed trefoil, suggest their dating to the same period. A further, albeit vague, piece of evidence of their chronological proximity might be the presence of the same punched motif in both the Washington panel [fig. 14] and the panel of Saint Peter now in Palermo.[34] But it is above all the accomplished drawing, especially evident in the harmonious curvilinear rhythms of the contours; the self-assured elegance of the poses; and the softness of the modeling that testify that the two complexes were executed in the same phase of Lippo’s art. Sufficient evidence does not exist to establish with certainty whether the one polyptych takes precedence over the other in date, even though I am inclined to think that the altarpiece painted for the Franciscans in San Gimignano is somewhat later than the other, to which the sources attach the date 1325. One thing is certain: the Washington Saint John the Baptist was painted in the artist’s full maturity, the phase in which his output reached its highest levels. That explains, even if it cannot justify, the now obsolete attribution to Simone Martini.

Miklós Boskovits (1935–2011)

March 21, 2016

Inscription

on the saint's scroll: ECCE AGNUS DEI.ECCE Q[UI TOLLIT PECCATUM MUNDI] (Behold the Lamb of God; behold him who [taketh away the sins of the world]; from John 1:29)

Provenance

Probably church of San Francesco, San Gimignano, until 1553;[1] church of San Giovanni Battista, San Gimignano, until 1782/1787;[2] church of San Francesco, Colle Val d’Elsa, between 1787 and mid-nineteenth century.[3] Graf von Oriola, Schloss Budesheim, Oberhessen; (his sale, Mensing & Fils at Frederik Muller & Co., Amsterdam, 13 April 1932, no. 3, as by Taddeo di Bartolo).[4] (Jacques Goudstikker, Amsterdam), by 1934;[5] purchased February 1937 through (Paul Cassierer & Co., Amsterdam) by (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris);[6] sold June 1938 to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York;[7] gift 1939 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1934
Italiaansche Kunst in Nederlandsch Bezit, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1934, no. 222, repro., as by Simone Martini.
Bibliography
1932
Collection Comte Oriola, formée en Italie de 1860-1896 Env. : tableaux, sculptures, tapisseries... acquis en grande partie des collections Bardini, Borghese etc., vente publique à Amsterdam, direction Mensing & Fils, le 13 avril 1932. Amsterdam, 1932: lot. 3.
1932
Marle, Raimond van. Le scuole della pittura italiana. 2 vols. The Hague and Florence, 1932-1934: 2(1934):210, fig. 142.
1934
Marle, Raimond van. Italiaansche Kunst in Nederlandsch Bezeit. Exh. cat. Stedelijk Museum. Amsterdam, 1934: 85, fig. 222.
1935
Beenken, Hermann. "Review of Le scuole della pittura italiana II by Raimond van Marle." Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 4 (1935): 356.
1935
Marle, Raimond van. "La pittura all’esposizione d’arte antica italiana di Amsterdam." Bollettino d’arte 27 (1935): 297, fig. 4
1936
Rinaldis, Aldo de. Simone Martini. Rome, n.d. [1936]: 79.
1939
Comstock, Helen. "The World’s Fair and other Exhibitions." Connoisseur 103 (1939): 277.
1940
Suida, Wilhelm. "Die Sammlung Kress: New York." Pantheon 26 (1940): 274.
1941
Duveen Brothers. Duveen Pictures in Public Collections of America. New York, 1941: no. 13, repro., as by Simone Martini.
1941
National Gallery of Art. Book of Illustrations. Washington, 1941: 186 (repro.), 241 as by Simone Martini.
1941
Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 185, no. 402, as by Simone Martini.
1941
Richter, George Martin. "The New National Gallery in Washington." The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 78 (June 1941): 177.
1942
Book of Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 247, repro. 189, as by Simone Martini.
1944
Frankfurter, Alfred M. The Kress Collection in the National Gallery. New York, 1944: 21, repro., as by Simone Martini.
1952
Zeri, Federico. "An Exhibition of Mediterranean Primitives." The Burlington Magazine 94 (1952): 321.
1956
Steinweg, Klara. "Beiträge zu Simone Martini und seiner Werkstatt." Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 7 (1956): 167.
1959
Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1959: 31, repro., as by Simone Martini.
1960
Ranucci, Cristina. "Lippo di Memmo di Filippuccio (Memmi)." In Dizionario biografico degli italiani. Edited by Alberto Maria Ghisalberti. 82+ vols. Rome, 1960+: 65(2005):227.
1960
Volpe, Carlo. "Precisazioni sul ‘Barna’ e sul ‘Maestro di Palazzo Venezia.’" Arte antica e moderna (1960): 157 n. 10.
1961
Coor, Gertrude. "Two Unknown Paintings by the Master of the Glorification of St. Thomas and Some Closely Related Works." Pantheon 19 (1961): 129-130, 133-134 n. 15, 135 n. 25, fig. 9.
1963
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): no. 298, repro., as by Simone Martini.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 89.
1966
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Italian Schools, XIII-XV Century. London, 1966: 49, fig. 126.
1968
Berenson, Bernard. The Italian Painters of the Renaissance. 2 vols. London and New York, 1968: 2:270.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 78, repro.
1969
Bologna, Ferdinando. I pittori alla corte angioina di Napoli, 1266-1414, e un riesame dell’arte nell’età fridericiana. Rome, 1969: 335 n. 7.
1970
Contini, Gianfranco, and Maria Cristina Gozzoli. L’opera completa di Simone Martini. Milan, 1970: 105, no. 54.
1970
Seymour, Charles. Early Italian Paintings in the Yale University Art Gallery. New Haven and London, 1970: 92.
1972
Delogu Ventroni, Sebastiana. Barna da Siena. Pisa, 1972: 59.
1972
Fredericksen, Burton B., and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972: 141, 646, 662.
1974
De Benedictis, Cristina. "A proposito di un libro su Buffalmacco." Antichità viva 13, no. 2 (1974): 8.
1974
Mallory, Michael. "An Altarpiece by Lippo Memmi Reconsidered." Metropolitan Museum Journal 9 (1974): 187-188, fig. 5.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 232, repro.
1975
Mallory, Michael. "Thoughts Concerning the ‘Master of the Glorification of St. Thomas.’" The Art Bulletin 57 (1975): 18-20.
1976
Caleca, Antonio. "Tre polittici di Lippo Memmi, un’ipotesi sul Barna e la bottega di Simone e Lippo, 1." Critica d’arte 41 (1976): 53, fig. 59.
1976
Mallory, Michael. The Sienese Painter Paolo di Giovanni Fei (c. 1345-1411). New York and London, 1976: 102-103, pl. 37.
1977
Bennett, Bonnie Apgar. Lippo Memmi, Simone Martini’s “fratello in arte”: The Image Revealed by His Documented Works. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, 1977. Ann Arbor, MI, 1979: 102-103, pl. 37.
1977
Caleca, Antonio. "Tre polittici di Lippo Memmi, un’ipotesi sul Barna e la bottega di Simone e Lippo, 2." Critica d’arte 42 (1977): 70.
1977
Maginnis, Hayden B. J. "The Literature of Sienese Trecento Painting 1945-1975." Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 40 (1977): 289.
1977
Meiss, Millard. "Notes on a Dated Diptych by Lippo Memmi." In Scritti di storia dell’arte in onore di Ugo Procacci. 2 vols. Edited by Maria Grazia Ciardi Dupré Dal Poggetto and Paolo Dal Poggetto. Milan, 1977: 1:139.
1977
Torriti, Piero. La Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena. I Dipinti dal XII al XV secolo. Genoa, 1977: 90.
1978
Ressort, Claude, Sylvia Beguin, and Michel Laclotte, eds. Retables italiens du XIIIe au XVe siècle. Exh. cat. Musée National du Louvre, Paris, 1978: 19.
1979
De Benedictis, Cristina. La pittura senese 1330-1370. Florence, 1979: 20, 91, 93.
1979
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. Washington, 1979: 1:331-333; 2:pl. 241.
1980
Zeri, Federico, and Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: Sienese and Central Italian Schools. A Catalogue of the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980: 50-52.
1981
Brejon de Lavergnée, Arnauld, and Dominique Thiébaut. Catalogue sommaire illustré des peintures du Musée du Louvre. 2, Italie, Espagne, Allemande, Grande-Bretagne et divers. Paris, 1981: 206.
1982
Christiansen, Keith. "Fourteenth-Century Italian Altarpieces." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 40 (1982): 26, fig. 25.
1982
Natale, Mauro, Alessandra Mottola Molfino, and Joyce Brusa. Museo Poldi Pezzoli. Vol. 1 (of 7), Dipinti. Milan, 1982: 145.
1983
L’Art gothique siennois: enluminure, peinture, orfèvrerie, sculpture. Exh. cat. Musée du Petit Palais, Avignon. Florence, 1983: 142.
1985
Bagnoli, Alessandro, and Luciano Bellosi, eds. Simone Martini e “chompagni”. Exh. cat. Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena. Florence, 1985: 28.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 231, repro.
1986
Conti, Alessandro. "Simone Martini e ‘chompagni’: Siena, Pinacoteca Nazionale, March 27-October 31, 1985." Bollettino d’arte 71, nos. 35-36 (1986): 102.
1986
Tartuferi, Angelo. "Appunti su Simone Martini e ‘chompagni.’" Arte cristiana 74 (1986): 86, 92 n. 32.
1988
Boskovits, Miklós, ed. Frühe italienische Malerei: Gemäldegalerie Berlin, Katalog der Gemälde. Translated by Erich Schleier. Berlin, 1988: 74, 75.
1988
Martindale, Andrew. Simone Martini. Oxford, 1988: 29, 59, fig. 132.
1988
Previtali, Giovanni. "Introduzione ai problemi della bottega di Simone Martini." In Simone Martini: atti del convegno; Siena, March 27-29, 1985. Edited by Luciano Bellosi. Florence, 1988: 160, 161, 166 nn. 22 and 26.
1991
De Benedictis, Cristina. "Lippo Memmi." In Enciclopedia dell’arte medievale. Edited by Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana. 12 vols. Rome, 1991-2002: 7(1996):733.
1994
Cannon, Joanna. "The Creation, Meaning and Audience of the Early Sienese Polyptych: Evidence from the Friars." In Italian Altarpieces, 1250-1550: Function and Design. Edited by Eve Borsook and Fiorella Superbi Gioffredi. Oxford, 1994: 60 n. 122, pl. 54.
1994
Carli, Enzo. La pittura a Pisa dalle origini alla Bella Maniera. Pisa, 1994: 56.
1995
Baetjer, Katharine. European Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born before 1865. A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995: 45.
1996
Maginnis, Hayden B. J. "Lippo Memmi." In The Dictionary of Art. 34 vols. Edited by Jane Turner. New York, 1996: 19:455.
1998
Frinta, Mojmír S. Punched Decoration on Late Medieval Panel and Miniature Painting. Prague, 1998: 189, 205, 247, 298, 311, 400.
1999
Bagnoli, Alessandro. La Maestà di Simone Martini. Cinisello Balsamo (Milan), 1999: 142, 151 n. 184.
2002
Franci, Beatrice. "Memmi, Lippo." In La pittura in Europa. Il Dizionario dei pittori. Edited by Carlo Pirovano. 3 vols. Milan, 2002: 2:591.
2003
Leone De Castris, Pierluigi. Simone Martini. Milan, 2003: 181, 218 n. 49.
2003
"Memmi, Lippo." In Dictionnaire de la peinture. Edited by Michel Laclotte and Jean Pierre Cuzin. Paris, 2003: 640.
2004
Secrest, Meryle. Duveen: A Life in Art. New York, 2004: 458, 461.
2006
Lonjon, Marianne. "Précisions sur la provenance du retable dit ‘de Colle di Val d’Elsa’ de Lippo Memmi." La revue des musées de France 56 (2006): 34, 38 n. 1, 39 n. 13, figs. 5-7.
2007
Foucart-Walter, Elisabeth, and Jean-Pierre Habert, eds. Catalogue des peintures italiennes du Musée du Louvre: Catalogue sommaire. Paris, 2007: 41.
2008
Boskovits, Miklós, and Johannes Tripps, eds. Maestri senesi e toscani nel Lindenau-Museum di Altenburg. Exh. cat. Santa Maria della Scala, Siena, 2008: 28-37.
2009
Bellosi, Luciano, ed. La collezione Salini: dipinti, sculture e oreficerie dei secoli XII, XIII, XIV e XV. 2 vols. Florence, 2009: 1:147, 148 repro.
2009
Spannocchi, Sabina. "Lippo e Tederigo Memmi." in La Collegiata di San Gimignano, vol. 2, l’architettura, i cicli pittorici murali e i loro restauri. Edited by Alessandro Bagnoli. Siena, 2009: 450.
Technical Summary

The wooden support consists of a single-member panel with vertical grain. The pointed arch retains the first molding of its original engaged frame. Stephen Pichetto thinned and cradled the panel in 1938–1939 (at present the wood is 1.3–1.5 cm thick).[1] Probably on the same occasion the edges of the panel were cut along the pointed arch. 

The painting was executed on a gesso ground. An underdrawing of thin contour lines is visible with infrared reflectography,[2] and a green underpainting is present beneath the flesh tones. The gilded areas were prepared with an orange-red layer of bole. Punchwork decorates the halo as well as the outer edges of the gold ground and the curved spandrels between the pointed external arch and the trefoil-shaped inner frame. 

The painted surface is in relatively good condition, but a vertical check extends approximately 6.5 cm from the bottom edge of the panel, and another is visible only on the reverse. There are small paint losses, which are especially heavy in the red drapery, and some abrasion in the gold ground. A 2 cm-wide strip of paint and gilding along the side and bottom edges is later restoration and has discolored. A nineteenth-century frame was present and covered this strip until the 1938–1939 treatment.[3] The painting was treated again in 1955 by Mario Modestini. Areas of the red drapery were extensively glazed during one or both of these treatments. A thick and discolored layer of varnish now covers the surface.

Altarpiece Reconstruction

Click on any panel in the altarpiece reconstruction below to see an enlarged version of the image. Color reproductions in the reconstruction indicate panels in the National Gallery of Art collection.

Reconstruction of a dispersed polyptych by Lippo Memmi.

Bottom tier:
a. Saint Louis of Toulouse (Entry fig. 6)
b. Saint Paul (Entry fig. 2)
c. Saint John the Baptist
d. Madonna and Child (Entry fig. 3)
e. Saint John the Evangelist (Entry fig. 4)
f. Saint Peter (Entry fig. 1)
g. Saint Francis (Entry fig. 5)

Upper tier:
h. Saint Elizabeth of Hungary (Entry fig. 11)
i. Saint Augustine (Entry fig. 12)
j. Mary Magdalene (Entry fig. 7)
k. Saint Anthony (Entry fig. 10)
l. Saint Clare (Entry fig. 8)
m. Saint Agnes (Entry fig. 9)