Circle of Matteo di Giovanni di Bartolo (Italian, Sienese, ca. 1430–1497)
Copper, gilding, gesso, and tempera paint
Overall 11 1/16 x 9 x 8 3/8 in. (28.1 x 22.9 x 21.3 cm)
The Cloisters Collection, 1961 (61.266)
The band along the lower edge of the bust is inscribed, on the front: [C]APUD SANTE IULIANE [head of St. Juliana], and, on the back: ROMA. A. D[OMINO]. GUILLE[LMO] [Rome, year of Our Lord, William]. In 1376, the skull of Saint Juliana, the gift of the brothers of San Domenico to the Perugian convent dedicated to the saint, was carried in procession and received by Abbess Gabriella. This beguiling image, perhaps commissioned by the "William" named in the inscription, was placed in an elaborate tabernacle, where it remained until the late nineteenth century.