The creation of works of art during the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance was often a collaborative process. The partnership of the two artists here—
It is not difficult to see the difference in style between the two painters. Allegretto’s Anthony is serious—even the colors are sober. Puccio, on the other hand, has a sunnier palette. Notice how Mary, who, per tradition, points to her son as the way of salvation, also seems to be chucking his plump, little chin.
Learn more about artistic collaborations during this period from other works in the National Gallery of Art. Huge commissions—like Duccio’s Maestà altarpiece in Siena’s cathedral (see
A picture consisting of three parts. The term denotes both the object itself and its compositional form. As an object, the triptych may vary in size and material, but usually consists of a central panel flanked by wings (or shutters), which may be hinged; as a compositional form it is a tripartite structure, often with an emphasized central element. Although its imagery was, until the 19th century at least, predominantly religious, the object as such was not tied to a specific function. —Victor M. Schmidt, Grove Art © Oxford University Press
An image-bearing structure set on the rear part of the altar, abutting the back of the altarblock, or set behind the altar in such a way as to be visually joined with the altar when viewed from a distance. It is also sometimes called a retable, following the medieval term retrotabulum. The altarpiece was never officially prescribed by the Church, but it did perform a prescribed function alternatively carried out by a simple inscription on the altarblock: to declare to which saint or mystery the altar was dedicated. In fact, the altarpiece did more than merely identify the altar; its form and content evoked the mystery or personage whose cult was celebrated at the altar. This original and lasting function influenced the many forms taken by the altarpiece throughout its history. —Alexander Nagel, Grove Art © Oxford University Press
It seems possible, however, as Shapley pointed out, that the triptych originally had a rather different iconographic program. “The cut running round the saint through the gold background,” wrote Shapley with regard to the left lateral with Saint Anthony, “may indicate that Nuzi replaced a damaged or unfinished figure.” Fern Rusk Shapley, Catalogue of the Italian Paintings, 2 vols. (Washington, DC, 1979), 1:384. Another theory is that the “cut” is the incised line for a different figure, but the plan for that figure was abandoned before it was painted and the figure of Saint Anthony was painted instead. Technical examination with x-radiographs and infrared reflectography cannot conclusively determine whether what Shapley referred to as a “cut” is deliberate or might actually be just a somewhat anomalous crack around the figure of Saint Anthony, which could have occurred during the thinning or possible transfer of the panel. If that is the case, then this figure is not a replacement.
Alberto Rossi, in Pittura del Marceratese dal Duecento al tardo gotico (Macerata, 1971), 62–64, gives the measurements of the panel as 152 × 177 cm. The triptych in Macerata bears the inscription ISTAM / TABULAM FECIT FIERI FRA / TER IOHANNES CLERICUS PRECEPTOR / TOLENTINI: ALEGRITTUS DE FABRIANO ME PINXIT [. . .] MCCCLXVIIII. See Luigi Serra, L’arte nelle Marche, vol. 1, Dalle origini cristiane alla fine del gotico (Pesaro, 1929), 287, 296. That painting, which Ricci recorded as having come to the cathedral from the church of Sant’Antonio Abate in Macerata, therefore had been commissioned by another community of the Antonine order and then transferred to its present site following the suppression of the religious orders in the Napoleonic period. Amico Ricci, Memorie storiche delle arti e degli artisti della Marca di Ancona, 2 vols. (Macerata, 1834), 1:89–90.
Luigi Serra, L’arte nelle Marche, vol. 1, Dalle origini cristiane alla fine del gotico (Pesaro, 1929), 287, conjectured that the same person had commissioned both this altarpiece and its prototype, now in Washington. The various houses of the order were called preceptories, so it may be surmised that, at least in 1369, Johannes clericus—the donor cited in the inscription—was the superior of the house of the Antonine order in Tolentino and, perhaps, the promoter of its daughterhouse in Macerata. For the term preceptor, cf. Charles du Fresne Du Cange, Glossarium mediæ et infimæ latinitatis, 10 vols. (Niort, 1883–1887), 6:451.
The composition at the center, with tiered angels and saints flanking the enthroned Madonna, was probably based on a model developed in a portable triptych from the shop of
Richard Offner, A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century, sec. 3, vol. 5, Bernardo Daddi and His Circle, ed. Miklós Boskovits, Ada Labriola, and Martina Ingendaay Rodio, new ed. (Florence, 2001), 394 n. 1, already observed that “the grouping of the attendant figures in tiers on either side of the Virgin has been handed down by Bernardo Daddi” in works such as
Dorothy C. Shorr (1954) stated, “This action conceals some peculiar significance and may possibly refer to the sacrificial aspect of the Lamb of God” (cf. Jn 1:29; Rev 5:6). On the other hand, as Offner (2001) notes, in Puccio’s earlier paintings “the Virgin is almost always engaged in play with the Child. . . . The painter studiously endows the Child with artlessness and the Mother with appropriate happiness untouched by the shadow of prophecy.” See Dorothy C. Shorr, The Christ Child in Devotional Images in Italy during the XIV Century (New York, 1954), 168; Richard Offner, A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century, sec. 3, vol. 5, Bernardo Daddi and His Circle, ed. Miklós Boskovits, Ada Labriola, and Martina Ingendaay Rodio, new ed. (Florence, 2001), 340.
This iconographic detail reflects a widespread practice in the Middle Ages, when small necklaces with miniature branches of coral as pendants frequently were given to children to wear to protect them from harm, thanks to the apotropaic power attributed to coral. See Wolfgang Brückner, “Koralle,” in Lexikon der christlichen Ikonographie, ed. Engelbert Kirschbaum and Günter Bandmann, 8 vols. (Rome, 1970), 2:556.
Small birds, mainly fastened to a cord, were widely used as children’s toys in the Middle Ages. But symbolic significances were also attributed to them, with reference to the Passion, death, and Resurrection of Christ. Cf. Herbert Friedmann, The Symbolic Goldfinch: Its History and Significance in European Devotional Art (Washington, DC, 1946).
See Barbara Bruderer Eichberg, Les neufs choeurs angéliques: Origine et évolution du thème dans l’art du Moyen âge (Poitiers, 1998), 62–67.
For the iconography, see George Kaftal, Saints in Italian Art, vol. 1, Iconography of the Saints in Tuscan Painting (Florence, 1952), 225–234. The peculiar form of her crown, conical with pointed termination, corresponds to that introduced by Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII and appears with some frequency in the central decades of the fourteenth century not only in representations of emperors but also in scenes of the Coronation of the Virgin—for example, in Puccio di Simone’s version of the theme in a panel in the Musée de Valence in Valence; see Richard Offner, A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century, sec. 3, vol. 5, Bernardo Daddi and His Circle, ed. Miklós Boskovits, Ada Labriola, and Martina Ingendaay Rodio, new ed. (Florence, 2001), 404–408. On the historical circumstances surrounding the realization of this form of crown, cf. Percy Ernst Schramm, Herrschaftszeichen und Staatssymbolik: Beiträge zu ihrer Geschichte vom dritten bis zum sechzehnten Jahrhundert, 3 vols. (Stuttgart, 1954–1956), 3:1015–1019.
For the iconography of Saint Benedict, cf. George Kaftal, Saints in Italian Art, vol. 1, Iconography of the Saints in Tuscan Painting (Florence, 1952), 145–174. The presence of the saint, founder of Western monasticism, in the place of honor, at the right-hand side of Mary and her son, is probably motivated by the fact that the motherhouse of the Antonine order, St. Antoine-en-Viennois, was originally a Benedictine abbey.
See Laurence Meiffret, Saint Antoine ermite en Italie (1340 – 1540): Programmes picturaux et dévotion (Rome, 2004). The cult of the fourth-century hermit saint was especially spread in Italy through the hospitals run by the Antonines after the lay confraternity established at La-Motteaux-Bois was transformed into a religious order. La-Motteaux-Bois was the site of the Benedictine abbey, later called St. Antoine-en-Viennois, where the relics of Saint Anthony had been transferred in the eleventh century. The inscription above the saint’s halo also alludes to the French origin of the order.
Saint Elizabeth, the founder of a hospital, was especially venerated in the Middle Ages for her charitable activities; cf. Sankt Elisabeth: Fürstin, Dienerin, Heilige (Sigmaringen, 1981), 101–116 and passim. For her iconography, see George Kaftal, Saints in Italian Art, vol. 1, Iconography of the Saints in Tuscan Painting (Florence, 1952), 337–343.
On the unusual motif of the isolated figure of the crucified Christ in the gable medallion of an altarpiece, which recurs in some works of Allegretto Nuzi and also in Florentine paintings of the second half of the fourteenth century, see Richard Offner, A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century, sec. 3, vol. 5, Bernardo Daddi and His Circle, ed. Miklós Boskovits, Ada Labriola, and Martina Ingendaay Rodio, new ed. (Florence, 2001), 394 n. 3.
See François Garnier, Le langage de l’image au Moyen Age, vol. 1, Signification et symbolique (Paris, 1982), 174.
On Saint Venantius, martyred under the persecutions of Decius, see C. Boccanera, “Venanzio da Camerino,” in Bibliotheca sanctorum, 12 vols. (Rome, 1969), 12:969–978. The saint, patron of the city of Camerino in the Marche, was also the titular saint of the Collegiata (cathedral since 1728) of Fabriano.
It is not known at whose suggestion this triptych, on its appearance in a London sale catalog of July 25, 1916, was cited as “A Triptych . . . attributed to Allegretto Nuzi da Fabriano.” Presumably,
(June 26, 1865–October 6, 1959) Art historian and connoisseur. Son of a Lithuanian timber merchant who emigrated to the United States with his family in 1875, he was educated at the Latin School, Boston, and at Harvard University, where he studied Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, Hebrew, and German. In an unsuccessful application for a traveling fellowship to Europe, he wrote, ‘Art prevails in this programme because it is there that I feel myself weakest. One can study literature here . . . but art not at all.’ On his subsequent visit to Europe in 1885, financed by friends, his rapid visual self-education led to the decision to settle in Italy and to devote his life to the study of Italian art. —William Mostyn-Owen, Grove Art © Oxford University Press
See Bernard Berenson, The Central Italian Painters of the Renaissance, 2nd ed. (New York, 1909), 131–132.
I refer to the panel of Saint Anthony Abbot with a group of devotees mentioned in Provenance note 1 above. The painting, dated 1353, was first attributed to Allegretto Nuzi by Ricci in 1834. Although Offner in 1927 excluded it from the catalog of the Marchigian painter, it continued to be attributed to him for many years to come, as was the triptych in the National Gallery of Art. Ricci’s description does not perfectly coincide with the work now displayed in the Pinacoteca of Fabriano, probably because he wrote from memory without checking the characteristics of the image against the painting. In any case, the date 1353 that Ricci read in the painting makes it virtually certain that it is the same painting. The triptych in the Gallery and the panel in Fabriano are the only paintings certainly produced by Puccio outside Tuscany. A period of activity in Perugia has also been surmised, however; Puccio could have stopped there during his journey to or from Fabriano. Cf. Richard Offner, A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century, sec. 3, vol. 5, Bernardo Daddi and His Circle, ed. Miklós Boskovits, Ada Labriola, and Martina Ingendaay Rodio, new ed. (Florence, 2001), 378 and n. 2, and a non-Florentine (Umbrian or Marchigian) destination cannot be excluded also for Puccio’s triptych now in the Cleveland Museum of Art (Offner 2001, 18 and n. 43).
Bernard Berenson, “Prime opere di Allegretto Nuzi,” Bollettino d’arte (1922): 296–309; Bernard Berenson, Studies in Medieval Painting(New Haven, 1930), 63–73; Osvald Sirén, “Three Early Florentine Trecento Pictures,” The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 45 (1924): 285; Luigi Serra, Le gallerie comunali delle Marche (Rome, 1925), 132; Luigi Serra, “L’arte nelle Marche: La pittura gotica; La scuola fabrianese,” Rassegna marchigiana 6 (1927–1928): 128, 130, 136, 138, 146; Luigi Serra, L’arte nelle Marche, vol. 1, Dalle origini cristiane alla fine del gotico (Pesaro, 1929), 280–281, 286–288, 293; Bruno Molajoli, “La scuola pittorica fabrianese,” Gentile da Fabriano: Bollettino mensile per la quinta commemorazione centenaria a cura della Società Fabrianese per la Tutela del Patrimonio Artistico ed Archeologico 1 (1928): 16; Roger Fry, “Mr Berenson on Medieval Painting,” The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 58, no. 338 (1931): 245; Lionello Venturi, Pitture italiane in America (Milan, 1931), no. 87; Lionello Venturi, Italian Paintings in America, trans. Countess Vanden Heuvel and Charles Marriott, 3 vols. (New York and Milan, 1933), 1: no. 107; Umberto Gnoli, “Nuzi, Allegretto,” in Enciclopedia italiana di scienze, lettere ed arti, ed. Istituto Giovanni Treccani, 36 vols. (Milan, 1935), 25:86; Luigi Coletti, I Primitivi, vol. 2, I senesi e i giotteschi (Novara, 1946), xlix; Ugo Galetti and Ettore Camesasca, Enciclopedia della pittura italiana, 3 vols. (Milan, 1951), 3:1779; Pietro Toesca, Il Trecento. Storia dell’arte classica e italiana 3; Storia dell’arte italiana 2 (Turin, 1951), 677; Robert Lehman, The Philip Lehman Collection, New York (Paris, 1928), no. 67.
The doubts can be traced back to Raimond van Marle, who in 1924 detected in the triptych the presence of elements of Daddesque culture that he found incompatible with the attribution to Allegretto.
Raimond van Marle, The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting, vol. 3, The Florentine School of the 14th Century (The Hague, 1924), 395.
Richard Offner, Studies in Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century (New York, 1927), 143; Helen Comstock, “The Bernardo Daddis in the United States,” International Studio 38 (1928): 94; Mario Salmi, “Review of L’arte nelle Marche dalle origini cristiane alla fine del Gotico by Luigi Serra,” Rivista d’arte 12 (1930): 303, 308.
National Gallery of Art, Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture (Washington, DC, 1941), 128, 142; Richard Offner, A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century, sec. 3, vol. 5, Bernardo Daddi and His Circle (New York, 1947), 182–184.
Roberto Longhi, “Qualità e industria in Taddeo Gaddi ed altri,” Paragone 10, no. 111 (1959): 9–10.
In the foreword to the volume in which he discussed Puccio’s oeuvre, Richard Offner reprimanded the error of some art historians who proposed to link polyptych no. 8569 in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence (signed by Puccius Simonis) “with a group of paintings like those of the Fabriano Master, ” adding, “Affinities between the Fabriano Master and Puccio must be admitted to exist as between two painters from a common stock, but it becomes the less likely that they are the same person as their paintings . . . would . . . have to show greater analogies of style than actually appear.” Richard Offner, A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century, sec. 3, vol. 8, Workshop of Bernardo Daddi (New York, 1958), i–ii. Offner’s doubts probably can be explained by the circumstance that the central panel of the altarpiece in question was illegible until a few years ago as a result of a maladroit repainting, from which only the recent restoration has freed it. See Angelo Tartuferi with Roberto Buda and Rosella Lari, in Da Puccio di Simone a Giottino: Restauri e conferme, ed. Angelo Tartuferi and Daniella Parenti (Florence, 2005), 42–45.
The execution of an altarpiece by two different artists can hardly have been a rarity in the practice of fourteenth-century painters: one of the most famous examples of such a collaboration is that of
Though signed by both artists, the work has been very differently assessed in the art historical literature; cf. in this regard the papers in the volume Simone Martini e l’Annunciazione degli Uffizi, ed. A. Cecchi (Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, 2001), which tend to circumscribe Lippo’s role in the execution of the triptych; and the more recent article by Andrea De Marchi, “La parte di Simone e la parte di Lippo,” Nuovi studi 11 (2006): 5–24, which considers the execution divided substantially into two equal parts.
(Orcagna; Orgagna; Arcagnuolo) (born 1315–20; died Florence, 1368) Painter, sculptor, and architect, thought to have also been active as a poet. He was trained as a painter and referred to himself as “pictor” on the tabernacle in Orsanmichele. Details of his training are not known, but his first surviving works reveal various influences, especially of Maso di Banco and Taddeo Gaddi. —G. Kreytenberg, Grove Art © Oxford University Press
In attempting for the first time to reconstruct the career of his Master of the Fabriano Altarpiece, Richard Offner conjectured “that he was born around 1320 . . . [and] he learned his craft under the spell of Daddi, which served . . . to mold his artistic personality, in the mid-thirties of the century; . . . he persisted in this state for about ten years . . . [and] for some years thereafter his native talents seem . . . to blossom into full flower . . . about the time of Daddi’s reputed death in 1348.” Richard Offner, A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century, sec. 3, vol. 5, Bernardo Daddi and His Circle, ed. Miklós Boskovits, Ada Labriola, and Martina Ingendaay Rodio, new ed. (Florence, 2001), 347–348. Recent reflection on the question, summarized in my essay in the above-cited volume of Offner (2001, 17–21), suggests to me the probability that during the 1330s, Puccio could have spent some time in Giotto’s shop, entering Daddi’s only after the death of the great master.
The church of Sant’Antonio Abate in Florence was built and successively enlarged in the course of the fourteenth century and frescoed, according to Vasari, by a painter he called Lippo (perhaps Lippo di Benivieni?) and by Buonamico Buffalmacco. Cf. Giuseppe Richa, Notizie istoriche delle chiese fiorentine divise ne’ suoi quartieri, 10 vols. (Florence, 1754–1762), 4:1–10; and Giorgio Vasari, “I Ragionamenti,” in Le vite dei più eccellenti pittori, scultori ed architettori, ed. Gaetano Milanesi, 9 vols. (Florence, 1882), 8:105–106. By the sixteenth century it already had been demolished. It must have been a complex of imposing dimensions and striking decoration, and it cannot be excluded that other later Antonine communities, such as that of Fabriano, considered it a model to be imitated. The association of Allegretto with Puccio surely was not formed merely to paint the triptych now in Washington. As we have seen (Provenance note 2), Luigi Lanzi recorded frescoes signed by Allegretto still surviving in the cloister adjoining the church in Fabriano, and it does not seem to go too far to assume that Allegretto, before frescoing the cloister, might also have frescoed the interior of the church.
Though its style and other data suggest that Puccio should be given credit for the overall planning of the triptych, the parts executed by the two masters can be clearly distinguished. The ornamentation of the two lateral panels—a decorative frieze delimiting the gold
The layer or layers used to prepare the support to hold the paint.
A small but significant difference between the two laterals should be pointed out, suggesting a change or reconsideration in iconographic program. Although, as Erling S. Skaug (1994) rightly pointed out, “the left wing of the Washington triptych . . . displays none of Nuzi’s punch marks, the execution of the lettered halo to the left . . . is clearly different from Puccio’s manner: the outline of each letter is stippled (with a single point punch), whereas Puccio’s letters consistently retain their incised outlines, and the granulation . . . is confined to the ground. The halo may have been executed by Nuzi.” Erling S. Skaug, Punch Marks from Giotto to Fra Angelico: Attribution, Chronology, and Workshop Relationships in Tuscan Panel Painting with Particular Consideration to Florence, c. 1330–1430, 2 vols. (Oslo, 1994), 1:141. The presence of a different system of punch decoration in Saint Anthony’s halo, along with the technical anomalies noted in the figure of the saint (see note 1 above), suggest that this aspect of the left panel may have been modified in course of the altarpiece’s realization.
In various panels by Puccio di Simone, the molding of the upper arch is embellished on the inside with a corbel frieze, the lunette-shaped interspaces decorated with a foliate motif incised in the gold ground, just as in the Washington triptych. We may cite Coronation of the Virgin no. 16 in the Lindenau-Museum in Altenburg; the triptych formed by the Coronation of the Virgin in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Ghent (no. 1903–A) and the two panels of saints in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin (no. III.20); or the other version of the Coronation of the Virgin, in the Musée du Petit Palais in Avignon (no. M.I. 414), all datable to the 1340s. The ornamental motif of the carpet on which the saints are standing in the lateral panels recurs, as noted by Brigitte Klesse, Seidenstoffe in der italienischen Malerei des 14. Jahrhunderts (Bern, 1967), 219, 220, in such works by Puccio di Simone as the former Lehman Madonna now in the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena and the former Dijon triptych now in the Musée du Petit Palais in Avignon (no. 20155).
The saint is portrayed by Puccio in an identical pose in the Petrognano polyptych now in the Museo di Arte Sacra at Certaldo and, in reverse, in the small triptych formerly in the collection of Carlo De Carlo in Florence; see Richard Offner, A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century, sec. 3, vol. 5, Bernardo Daddi and His Circle, ed. Miklós Boskovits, Ada Labriola, and Martina Ingendaay Rodio, new ed. (Florence, 2001), 476–482, 595–596.
Allegretto painted the figure of Saint Anthony Abbot with the same pose and facial features as in the Washington triptych not only in the Macerata triptych but also in a panel in the Pinacoteca of Fabriano. The latter presents Saint Anthony Abbot and Saint John the Evangelist and, together with another lateral of the same triptych, depicting the Baptist and Saint Venantius, comes from the abbey of Santa Maria d’Appennino. Cf. Fabio Marcelli, Pinacoteca Civica “Bruno Molajoli” (Fano, 1997), 60.
A very different humanity is evident in the image of Saint Venantius
The saint’s brocaded tunic, embroidered with motifs of flowers, birds, and tortoises, is one of the most lavishly decorated and complex fabrics to be found in paintings executed in the mid-fourteenth century. It is displayed almost ostentatiously by the young Saint Venantius, who throws one side of his mantle behind his right shoulder seemingly with no other purpose than to display his sumptuous dress. The same lavishly brocaded tunic, similarly exhibited, is seen not only in the copy of the Washington triptych now in Macerata but also in the image of Saint Venantius in the triptych cited in the previous note, now in the Pinacoteca Civica of Fabriano, and in various other works. The material, of which the public in Fabriano was clearly fond, also appears in the painted mantle of a statue of the Madonna and Child with a provenance from a church in the environs of Fabriano and now in a private collection in Perugia. Cf. Enrica Neri Lusanna, in L’eredità di Giotto: Arte a Firenze 1340–1375, ed. Angelo Tartuferi (Florence, 2008), 132. The fabric in question should be understood as Florentine in origin. Brigitte Klesse, Seidenstoffe in der italienischen Malerei des 14. Jahrhunderts (Bern, 1967), 140–142, pointed out that it appears, with variants, in various paintings produced in the shop of Andrea Orcagna.
It is Roberto Longhi who proposed that the naturalistic approach exemplified by the figures in the Gallery triptych reflects models disseminated by Giovanni da Milano during his activity in Florence. Roberto Longhi, “Qualità e industria in Taddeo Gaddi ed altri,”Paragone 10, no. 111 (1959): 9–10; Roberto Longhi, “Una ‘riconsiderazione’ dei primitivi italiani a Londra,” Paragone 16 (1965): 13. The proposal has been repeated in various more recent contributions: Carlo Volpe, “Il lungo percorso del ‘dipingere dolcissimo e tanto unito,’” in Storia dell’arte italiana, vol. 2, Dal Medioevo al Novecento, pt. 1, Dal Medioevo al Quattrocento, ed. Federico Zeri, Giulio Bollati, and Paolo Fossati (Turin, 1983), 281 n. 30, 299; Silvia Giorgi, in Galleria Nazionale di Parma, vol. 1, Catalogo delle opere dall’antico al Cinquecento, ed. Lucia Fornari Schianchi (Milan, 1997), 47.
The Florentine painter Stefano, whose name is cited without patronymic but with great admiration by Trecento sources, is probably to be identified with Stefano di Ricco di Lapo, son-in-law of Giotto and father of the painter Giottino. Cf. Brendan Cassidy, “Stefano Fiorentino,” in The Dictionary of Art, ed. Jane Turner, 34 vols. (New York, 1996), 29:598–599; Giovanna Ragionieri, “Stefano Fiorentino,” in La pittura in Europa: Il dizionario dei pittori, ed. Carlo Pirovano, 3 vols. (Milan, 2002), 3:867–868. Reconstructions, in part divergent, of Stefano’s oeuvre have been proposed by Luciano Bellosi, “Giottino e la pittura di filiazione giottesca intorno alla metà del Trecento,” Prospettiva 101 (2001): 19–40; and the present writer, Miklós Boskovits, “Ancora su Stefano fiorentino (e su qualche fatto pittorico di Firenze verso la metà del Trecento),” Arte cristiana 91 (2003): 173–180. How closely linked Puccio’s painting is with the reformed, gothicizing “Giottism” of the mid-fourteenth century is shown by the fact that Bellosi (2001, 31–33) attributed to Stefano, though with extreme caution, the great painted cross in the church of San Marco in Florence, which others consider executed by Puccio. Cf. Erling S. Skaug, Punch Marks from Giotto to Fra Angelico: Attribution, Chronology, and Workshop Relationships in Tuscan Panel Painting with Particular Consideration to Florence, c. 1330–1430, 2 vols. (Oslo, 1994), 1:137–138; Mojmir Svatopluk Frinta, Punched Decoration on Late Medieval Panel and Miniature Painting (Prague, 1998), 427; and Miklós Boskovits, in Richard Offner, A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century, sec. 3, vol. 5, Bernardo Daddi and His Circle, ed. Miklós Boskovits, Ada Labriola, and Martina Ingendaay Rodio, new ed. (Florence, 2001), 17–21.
On the still inadequately defined personality of the Master of San Lucchese, cf. Miklós Boskovits, in Giotto: Bilancio critico di sessant’anni di studi e ricerche, ed. Angelo Tartuferi (Florence, 2000), 208–211; Miklós Boskovits, “Ancora su Stefano fiorentino (e su qualche fatto pittorico di Firenze verso la metà del Trecento),” Arte cristiana 91 (2003): 175–177; Luciano Bellosi, “Giottino e la pittura di filiazione giottesca intorno alla metà del Trecento,” Prospettiva 101 (2001): 34–37.
For the chronology of Puccio’s oeuvre since the mid-fourteenth century, I refer the reader to my own proposals: Miklós Boskovits, A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century, sec. 3, vol. 9, The Miniaturist Tendency (Florence, 1984), 74–79; Richard Offner, A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century, sec. 3, vol. 5, Bernardo Daddi and His Circle, ed. Miklós Boskovits, Ada Labriola, and Martina Ingendaay Rodio, new ed. (Florence, 2001), 17–21, though with the caveat that I erroneously included the polyptych now in the Museo Diocesano in Certaldo and the signed polyptych in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence among the painter’s late works.
Miklós Boskovits (1935–2011)
March 21, 2016
on the Madonna's halo: .S[AN]C[T]A.MARIA.MATER.DEI.; on the Child's halo: IIS . XRO . M; along the base: [MCCC]LIIII.QUESTA TA[VOLA HA F]ATTA F[A]RE. FRATE GIOVANNI DA [...] (1354, this picture was commissioned by Fra Giovanni)
 Fern Rusk Shapley, Catalogue of the Italian Paintings, 2 vols., Washington, DC, 1979: 1:383, read HS.XRO. [LUX] M[VNDI]. Presumably the first letters were intended to be IHS, the frequently used traditional abbreviation of the name of Jesus, formed, at least partially, of the letters of the Greek version of the name: ΙΗΣΟΥΣ. The second group of letters is again an incorrect transcription of the letters of the word Christus in Greek: ΧΡΙСΤΟС; see Hans Feldbusch, “Christusmonogramm,” in Reallexikon zur deutschen Kunstgeschichte, edited by Otto Schmitt and Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte München, 10 vols., Stuttgart, 1937-2003: 3(1954):707-720. The meaning of the final letter M, which might be an abbreviation of various words, is difficult to interpret.
Probably commissioned for the high altar of the demolished church of Sant’Antonio Abate fuori Porta Pisana, Fabriano; apparently by the early years of the nineteenth century it was no longer in this church, presumably having passed into a local private collection. Joseph Russell Bailey [1840-1906], 1st Baron Glanusk, Glanusk Park, Breconshire, Wales; by inheritance to his son, Joseph Henry Russell Bailey [1864-1928], 2nd Baron Glanusk, Glanusk Park; sold in 1915. (sale, Sotheby’s, London, 25 July 1916, no. 137, as Attributed to Allegretto Nuzi); purchased by Walter Dowdeswell for (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris); Carl W. Hamilton [1886-1967], New York, in the early 1920s; (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris), by 1929; sold 15 December 1936 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.
- Sesquicentennial Exhibition, Philadelphia, 1926.
The altarpiece is constructed of three panels, the central one of which is fabricated of at least two pieces of wood with vertical grain. The original thickness of the panels was reduced to 1.3–1.7 cm, and it has been
Attaching a woodent grid to the reverse of a panel to prevent the panel's warping.
No information is available about this treatment, which “was made several years ago,” according to a 1939 letter from David E. Finley to Richard Offner (copy in NGA curatorial files), possibly in the period when the altarpiece was returned from Carl Hamilton to Duveen Brothers (see Provenance note 5). Comparison of the photograph that Bernard Berenson published in 1922 with a photograph dated 1937 in the NGA photo archives indicates that the painting was treated between the dates when these photos were taken. However, it is unclear if the thinning and cradling took place during that treatment or if it had already occurred. A letter dated December 12, 1917 from Muscat Rougeron Picture Restoration to Duveen Brothers discusses treatment of a “quimptich” by Allegretto di Muzzi, which may refer to the NGA panel. Duveen Brothers Records, accession number 960015, Research Library, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles: reel 114, box 259, folder 12.
The NGA scientific research department analyzed the frame using x-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF), cross-sections, and polarized light microscopy (see report dated April 1, 2002, in NGA conservation files). The analysis showed that the frame was silver leaf, which was toned and decorated with red and green transparent glazes.
A mixture of finely ground plaster and glue applied to wood panels to create a smooth painting surface. —Grove Art © Oxford University Press
Application of restoration paint to areas of lost original paint to visually integrate an area of loss with the color and pattern of the original, without covering any original paint.
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