Master of Saint Francis (Italian, Umbria, active third quarter 13th century)
Tempera and gold on wood
18 3/4 x 9 in. (47.6 x 22.9 cm)
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Not on view
The earliest Italian painting in the Lehman Collection, this panel formed part of one of the greatest Italian altarpieces of the third quarter of the thirteenth century. The double-sided altarpiece was probably commissioned for the main altar of the church of San Francesco al Prato in Perugia. This panel—with Saint Francis (Galleria Nazionale, Perugia), Saint James and Saint John the Evangelist (both National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), Saint Matthew (Galleria Nazionale, Perugia), and Saint Peter (private collection)—formed the left side of one face of the main altarpiece; the right side of the other face depicted Isaiah (Tesoro di San Francesco, Assisi), and the Deposition, the Lamentation, and Saint Anthony (all Galleria Nazionale, Perugia). The tondi in the spandrels at the upper corners are cut into the panel through the canvas ground and are pigmented on gesso priming. They were originally, like the spandrels of the panels from this altarpiece at Perugia, filled with colored and gilded glass. The altarpiece was displayed above an early Christian sarcophagus containing the body of Saint Francis's follower, the Beato Egidio (ca. 1261). The painted arches and the disposition of the figures in the altarpiece panels echoes the sculpted reliefs of the sarcophagus. The Master of Saint Francis was also responsible for another highly significant Franciscan commission: a fresco cycle in the nave of the Lower Church of San Francesco at Assisi.
San Francesco al Prato, Perugia; Arciconfraternità della Pietà del Camposanto Teutonico, Rome, until 1921; "Monseigneur Del Val" (probably Anton de Wall, rector of the Camposanto Teutonico); Paolo Paolini, Rome. Acquired by Philip Lehman before 1928.
Georg Graf Vitzthum and W. F. Volbach. Die Malerei und Plastik des Mittelalters in Italien. Wildpark-Potsdam, 1924, p. 251.
Robert Lehman. The Philip Lehman Collection, New York: Paintings. Paris, 1928, Pl. 63
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 345.
Giulia Sinibaldi and Giulia Brunetti, ed. Pittura italiana del duecento e trecento: Catalogo della mostra giottesca di Firenze del 1937. Exh. cat., Galleria degli Uffizi. Florence, 1943, no. 41.
Edward B. Garrison. Italian Romanesque Panel Painting. Florence, 1949, pp. 161-163, cat. nos. 424-429, reconstruction 4.
Paintings and Bronzes from the Collection of Mr. Robert Lehman. Exh. cat., Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Colorado Springs, 1951, Pl. 12
Theodore Allen Heinrich. "The Lehman Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 12 (April 1954), p. 217.
Charles Sterling, ed. Exposition de la collection Lehman de New York. Exh. cat., Musée de l'Orangerie. Paris, 1957, no. 36.
The Lehman Collection. Exh. cat., Cincinnati, 1959, no. 84.
Mr. Nick Ohly. "Ein Dugento-Altar aus Assisi? Versuch einer Rekonstruction." Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz , 10 (1961–19631961), pp. 59-66.
Mr. Nick Ohly. "Zur Kunst des ‘Franziskus Meisters’." Wallraf-Richartz Jahrbuch, 25 (1963), p. 141-145.
Mojmir Frinta. "An Investigation of the Punched Decoration of Mediaeval Italian and Non-Italian Panel Paintings." Art Bulletin, 47 (1965), p. 263 n. 9.
Francesco Santi. Dipinti, sculture e oggetti d'arte di età romanica e gotica. Rome, 1969, pp. 30-31, inv. 23, 24 n. 7.
George Szabó. The Robert Lehman Collection: A Guide. New York, 1975, p. 29, pl. 37.
Keith Christiansen. "Fourteenth-Century Italian Altarpieces." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 40 (Summer 1982), pp. 14-17, figs. 15, 16.
Dillian Gordon. "A Perugian Provenance for the Franciscan Double-sided Altarpiece by the Maestro di S. Francesco." The Burlington Magazine, 124 (1982), pp. 70-77.
George Szabo. Masterpieces of Italian Drawing in the Robert Lehman Collection. New York, 1983, no. 17.
Dillian Gordon. "The Conservatism of Umbrian Art: Raphael and Before." Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, 134 (January 1986), pp. 110-111.
John Pope-Hennessy assisted by Laurence B. Kanter inThe Robert Lehman Collection. Vol. 1, Italian Paintings. New York, 1987, pp. 78-80, no. 36.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 118.
Georg Swarzenski and Alfred Wolters. Städel-Jarbuch, 16 (1998), p. 14.
Serena Romano. "La morte di Francesco: Fonti francescane e storia dell'Ordine nella basilica di S. Francesco ad Assisi." Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, 61 (1998), p. 360.
Giovanni Morello and Laurence B. Kanter. The Treasury of Saint Francis of Assisi. Exh. cat., Milan, 1999, Cat. no. 6.2.
William R. Cook. Images of St. Francis of Assisi in Painting, Stone and Glass from the Earliest Images to ca. 1320 in Italy—A Catalogue. Florence, 1999, p. 163.
Donal Cooper. "Qui Peruse in Archa Saxea Tumulatus’: The Shrine of Beato Egidio in San Francesco Al Prato, Perugia." Papers of the British School at Rome, 69 (2001), p. 225.
Klaus Krüger. "Medium and Imagination: Aesthetic Aspects of Trecento Panel Painting." Italian Panel Painting of the Duecento and Trecento. Ed. Victor M. Schmidt. Washington, 2002, pp. 63-65, fig. 15.
Dillian Gordon. Italian Panel Painting of the Duecento and Trecento. Washington D.C. , 2002, pp. 230-231, fig. 2.
Sharon E. Gerstel. Thresholds of the Sacred: Architectural, Art Historical, Liturgical, and Theological Perspectives on Religious Screens, East and West. Washington D.C. , 2006, p. 156, fig. 24.