Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Blessing Bishop (Saint Nicholas of Bari)

Date:
ca. 1350–75
Geography:
Made in probably Umbria, Italy
Culture:
Central Italian
Medium:
Poplar, paint, gilt
Dimensions:
Overall: 73 1/2 x 17 1/2 x 13 1/2 in., 39lb. (186.7 x 44.5 x 34.3 cm, 17690.3g)
Classification:
Sculpture-Wood
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1925
Accession Number:
25.120.218
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 8
The bishop's chasuble, the principal vestment worn by a priest, is represented with a black orphrey ornamented with a series of quatrefoils. The top medallion shows Christ with his hand raised in benediction, while the others contain letters that spell AVE MARIA. The grandeur and nobility of this figure, a rare example of Gothic wood sculpture from Italy, results from the careful balance of the elements of the bishop's vestments—the tall miter and the long elliptical drapery folds—with the attenuated proportions, the frontality of the pose, the authority of the facial expression, and the refinement in the painted surfaces, especially on the face and beard.
Inscription: (red medallions): AVE MARIA
From the parish church of San Nicola di Bari, Monticchio, L'Aquila; George Grey Barnard American, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 1863–1938 New York, New York (by 1913–until 1925)
Catalogo generale della mostra d'arte antica abruzzese in Chieti. Chieti: Tipografia Nicola Jecco, 1905. no. 6, p. 189.

"Commissioni. Commissione Centrale peri Monumenti e per le Opere di Antichità e d'Arte. Sect 2. Monumenti e oggetti medioevali e dell'età posteriore." Bollettino d'Arte 1, no. 1 (January 1907). no. 9, p. 36.

Balzano, Vincenzo. L'arte abruzzese. Collezione di monografie illustrate, Serie 5a. Raccolta d'arte 8. Bergamo: Istituto Italiano d'Arti Grafiche, 1910. p. 36, ill. p. 38.

Breck, Joseph. The Cloisters: A Brief Guide. 1st ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1926. p. 42.

Breck, Joseph. The Cloisters: A Brief Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1927. p. 45.

Breck, Joseph. The Cloisters: A Brief Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1929. p. 45.

Breck, Joseph. The Cloisters: A Brief Guide. 4th ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1931. p. 45.

Serra, Luigi. Provincia di Aquila. Inventario degli oggetti d'arte d'Italia, Vol. 4. Rome: La Libreria dello Stato, 1934. pp. 245-46.

Rorimer, James J., and Margaret B. Freeman. The Cloisters: The Building and the Collection of Mediaeval Art, in Fort Tryon Park. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1938. p. 60, fig. 30.

Ragghianti, Carlo L. "Scultura lignea senese (e non senese)." La Critica d'Arte, 3rd ser., 8, no. 6 (March 1, 1950). p. 496, n. 10.

Rorimer, James J. The Cloisters: The Building and the Collection of Mediaeval Art in Fort Tryon Park, New York. 11th ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1951. p. 61, fig. 29.

Mortari, Luisa. Opere d'arte in Sabina dall'XI al XVII secolo. Rome: De Luca Editore, 1957. pp. 70-71.

Carli, Enzo. La scultura lignea italiana dal XII al XVI secolo. Milan: Electa, 1960. p. 52.

Rorimer, James J. The Cloisters: The Building and the Collection of Medieval Art in Fort Tryon Park. 3rd revised ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1963. pp. 88-89, fig. 39.

Mortari, Luisa. Mostra delle opere restaurate in Sabina dalle Soprintendenze ai monumenti ed alle gallerie del Lazio. Rieti: Palazzo Papale, 1966. pp. 18-19.

Gómez-Moreno, Carmen. "Three Madonnas in Search of an Author." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 25, no. 10 (June 1967). p. 396.

Schrader, J. L. "George Grey Barnard: The Cloisters and the Abbaye." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 37, no. 1 (Summer 1979). p. 32, fig. 42.

Lehmann-Brockhaus, Otto. Abruzzen und Molise: Kunst und Geschichte. Römische Forschungen der Bibliotheca Hertziana, Vol. 23. Munich: Prestel Verlag, 1983. p. 363.

D'Achille, Anna Maria, and Tiziana Iazeolla. "Luoghi e testimonianze del Medioevo in Sabina." In La Sabina medievale, edited by Marina Righetti Tosti-Croce. Milan: Amilcare Pizzi Editore, 1985. p. 208.

Husband, Timothy B., and Charles T. Little. Europe in the Middle Ages. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. pp. 104-105, pl. 97.

Wixom, William D. "Medieval Sculpture at The Cloisters." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 46, no. 3 (Winter 1988-1989). p. 30.

Piemonte, Anna Maria. "Il Santo Vescovo ligneo della città di Leonessa." In Leonessa: Storia e cultura di un centro di confine, edited by Corrado Maltese. Ricerche di Storia dell'Arte, Vol. 43-44. Rome: Nuova Italia Scientifica, 1991. p. 89.

Frinta, Mojmir. Punched Decoration on Late Medieval Panel and Miniature Painting. Prague: Maxdorf, 1998. pp. 211, 482, 504.

Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Lisbeth, and Jack Soultanian. Italian Medieval Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Cloisters. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2010. no. 42, pp. 199–207.



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