Pesellino (Francesco di Stefano) (Italian, Florentine, ca. 14221457)
Tempera on panel; Overall 10 3/8 x 9 3/8 in. (26.4 x 23.8 cm), picture surface 8 7/8 x 8 in. (22.6 x 20.3 cm)
Bequest of Mary Stillman Harkness, 1950 (50.145.30)
In the early twentieth century, Pesellino was considered to have been among the greatest of Florentine painters, and his rare surviving works were avidly sought by collectors of Renaissance art. This elevated reputation was in large measure based on the refinement of paintings such as this one: an undisputed masterpiece of Pesellino's last years.
The precise identity of the six saintsother than Jerome, in a red cardinal's robeis subject to debate. The elderly saint at the far left is thought to be Anthony Abbot, though he may be a member of a monastic order. The two female saints bear no specific attributes other than a book and a palm, indicating only that the one on the right is a martyr. The bishop and warrior saints in the right foreground are likely Augustine and George.