Description Each of these panels depicts an individual saint standing beneath an arch before a distant landscape. The saints are identifiable by the inscriptions beneath their feet and the attributes that they carry. The apostle Peter (37.508A) holds the keys to heaven; John the Baptist (37.508B) wears a camel’s skin shirt (a reference to years spent preaching in the desert) and holds a reed cross and tiny lamb (the “Lamb of God,” a term he used to describe Jesus Christ); Roch (37.508C), a common protector against plague, carries a pilgrim’s staff and points to his own plague boil on his thigh; and James the Great (37.508D) carries a cockle shell and pilgrim’s staff, the latter a reference to the famous pilgrimage destination dedicated to him, Santiago de Compostella in Spain. The panels 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 1500s 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.
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. Peter panel: S. PETRUS; [Transcription] On scroll of St. John panel: ECCE AGN[US] DEI QUI; [Transcription] At bottom of St. John panel: S. JOHANNES BAPTISTA; [Transcription] At bottom fo St. Roch panel: S. ROCHUS; [Transcription] At bottom fo St. James panel: S. JACOBUS MAIOR; [Number] On paper label on reverse of each panel; [Number] On paper label on reverse of St. Roch panel: 3377/11
Credit Acquired by William T. or Henry Walters, before 1916
Download Image Add to Collection Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Creative Commons License