Description This panel depicts Saint Roch, commonly venerated in the Renaissance as a protector against plague. Roch’s legend claimed that he traveled Europe healing those afflicted by the disease; he is thus commonly shown as here, in the dress of a traveler, carrying pilgrim’s staff and pointing to his own plague boil on his inner thigh. The painting was originally joined by three others, also in the Walters’ collection (37.508A, 37.508B, 37.508D). They may have functioned as organ shutters: in Renaissance Italy, painted panels of full-length standing saints were often hinged to the sides of organ pipes, over which they were folded when the instrument was not in use. The artist remains unknown. The illumination of the figures from a clear, warm light, falling from the left and rendering them almost statuesque, suggests they painted in or near Venice in the early 16th century by someone in the circle of Giovanni Bellini (ca. 1431/36-1516), famous for his depiction of light. After the panels were purchased by Henry Walters they were variously assigned to Niccolò Rondinelli (documented 1495-1502) and Pier Maria Pennacchi (1464-ca. 1515), both active in Venice and its surroundings in the late 1400s and early 1500s. In the 1970s they were reassigned to another painter from the region, Pellegrino da San Daniele (1467-1547). The latter suggestion is perhaps the most convincing but the question ultimately remains open.
|9/21/1938||Treatment||examined for condition; reconstructed|
|4/10/1973||Treatment||coated; inpainted; reconstructed; stabilized; surface cleaned|
Provenance William T. / Henry Walters Collection, Baltimore, prior to 1916 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Transcription] At bottom of St. Roch panel: S. ROCHUS; [Number] On paper label on reverse of panel: 3377/11
Credit Acquired by William T. or Henry Walters, before 1916
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