Description As indicated by its small size and horizontal orientation, this painting was originally part of a “predella,” or illustrated base, of a large altarpiece. Against a backdrop of fictive blue and grey stone, the elderly Saint Anne holds a miniature version of her daughter, the Virgin Mary, who in turn holds her own child, the infant Christ. To the left is Saint Catherine of Alexandria, her hands joined in prayer and with a palm frond, denoting her status as a martyr, and a spiked wheel, the instrument of her torture. At the right is Saint Lucy; also a martyr, she holds a palm frond as well as a vessel containing a pair of eyes, alluding to her status as the patron saint of eyesight. Another panel from the same predella depicting Saints Roch, Blaise and Francis of Assisi is now in a private collection. Other parts of the altarpiece from which these panels came have not been identified. Painted at the end of the 1490s for the church of San Francesco in Cotignola in northern Italy, the panel is attributed to Francesco and Bernardino Zaganelli, two brothers who were from Cotignola adn ran a prolific workshop in the nearby Ravenna. Since the brothers often collaborated it is difficult to distinguish their individual styles.
Provenance Church of San Francesco, Cotignola, by 1786 [date and mode of acquisition unknown]. Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [1897 catalogue: no. 232, as Gaudenzio Ferrari]; 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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