Description St. Helena (ca. 247-ca. 327) was the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great (ca. 288-337), who, according to tradition, christianized the Roman Empire. Helena is shown holding the True Cross (the cross on which Christ was crucified), which she is said to have discovered in Jerusalem. Her elaborate headdress and idealized, slightly masculine facial features reveal the artist's study of Michelangelo's so-called teste divine (divine heads), admired for their great beauty. Morandini and other Florentine artists of the later 16th century thought of Michelangelo as the greatest artist of all time, and they devotedly imitated his works. For more information on this painting, please see Federico Zeri's 1976 catalogue no. 218, p. 337.
- An Exhibition of the Treasures of The Walters Art Gallery. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton; Pace Wildenstein Gallery, New York. 1967.
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [1897 catalogue: no. 115, as Francesco Salviati]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902
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