across bottom: (cross) S us (decorative element) Vallentin (decorative element, cross)
Mrs. Joanne Freedman [d. 1982], Washington, D.C., by 1972; gift 1972 to NGA.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 258, repro., as Follower of Michael Pacher.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 297, repro., as Follower of Michael Pacher.
- Hand, John Oliver, with the assistance of Sally E. Mansfield. German Paintings of the Fifteenth through Seventeenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1993: 187-193, repro. 190.
- Löcher, Kurt. Review of German Paintings of the Fifteenth through Seventeenth Centuries, by John Oliver Hand with the assistance of Sally E. Mansfield. Kunstchronik 43 no. 1 (January 1995): 20.
Like Saint Wolfgang (1972.73.2) this panel is composed of three boards of spruce wood. Dendrochronological analysis has shown that the boards of this panel match those of the Saint Wolfgang panel in reverse, the two having once been obverse and reverse of one wing of an altarpiece. The Saint Valentine, like the Saint Alban of Mainz, was an interior wing, and the two are technically quite similar. The ground is formed by a relatively thin white layer, which has discolored. In the upper section of the panel, above the screen, cloth has been applied over the relatively thin white ground, as in the Saint Alban panel, but here the cloth is of a tighter weave. Underdrawing, applied with a brush in a vigorous style, is visible in the flesh tones. Infrared reflectography reveals that it is used extensively to outline and detail forms, with wash used to create shadows. The painted image follows the underdrawing.
The condition of the panel is similar to that of the Saint Alban panel. The paint surface is cupped, and there are rather extensive losses. There is some blistering in the bottom section, particularly in the retouching to the left of the letter @V@ and near the barbe on the right-hand side. In areas of red pigment there is some evidence of shrinkage of the paint film during drying. Retouching was carried out in two stages. The earlier, more generalized stage covered much original paint in the figure and in the bottom section, mainly along the left-hand side. The second stage of retouching covered losses along the left join, near the saint's upper right arm, across the platform, along the top edge of the panel, and in scattered small areas throughout. There is a split in the panel along the left edge, and there are several checks. The small donor figure in seventeenth-century dress has been painted over the letters "... anct" and is a later addition.