Thursday, March 2, 2017

11 Icons, Scenes from the Bible, with footnotes, #11

PETER PAUL RUBENS (CIRCLE) Siegen 1577 - 1640 Antwerp 
THE MADONNA AND CHILD
Oil on panel
50 cm by 38.5 cm
Private collection

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (28 June 1577 – 30 May 1640) was a Flemish Baroque painter. A proponent of an extravagant Baroque style that emphasized movement, colour, and sensuality, Rubens is well known for his Counter-Reformation altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects.
In addition to running a large studio in Antwerp that produced paintings popular with nobility and art collectors throughout Europe, Rubens was a classically educated humanist scholar and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV of Spain and Charles I of England. More Sir Peter Paul Rubens

Central Italian School, 16th Century
THE MYSTIC MARRIAGE OF SAINT CATHERINE
Oil on panel
70 x 53.5 cm.; 27 1/2  x 21 in.
Private collection

This Renaissance panel depicting the Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine has thus far eluded secure attribution. The high cheek bones of the female figures' graceful physiognomies imply that the work was evidently painted by an artist closely aware of the work of Pietro Perugino, probably in central Italy, but the lively figure of Joseph also pays homage to Filippino Lippi. More about this Icon

Ambrogio Bergognone
The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine of Alexandria and Saint Catherine of Siena, circa 1490
Oil on poplar wood
187.5 × 129.5 cm (73.8 × 51 in)
National Gallery

The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine covers two different subjects in Christian art arising from visions received by either Saint Catherine of Alexandria or Saint Catherine of Siena (1347–1380), in which these virgin saints went through a mystical marriage wedding ceremony with Christ, in the presence of the Virgin Mary, consecrating themselves and their virginity to him.

The Catholic Encyclopaedia notes that such a wedding ceremony "is but the accompaniment and symbol of a purely spiritual grace", and that "as a wife should share in the life of her husband, and as Christ suffered for the redemption of mankind, the mystical spouse enters into a more intimate participation in His sufferings."  Catherine of Alexandria was martyred, while Catherine of Siena received the stigmata.

Both Saint Catherines are frequent subjects in Christian art; the scene usually includes one of the Saint Catherines and either the infant Jesus held by his mother or an adult Jesus. Very rarely both saints are shown in a double ceremony (as above). Saint Catherine of Alexandria is invariably dressed as a princess in rich clothes, often with a crown, and normally with loose long blonde hair and carrying a martyr's palm, sometimes with her attribute of a wheel; Saint Catherine of Siena is shown as a Dominican nun in white with a black over-robe open at the front, so it is usually easy to tell which saint is depicted. More Saint Catherine

Ambrogio Borgognone (variously known as Ambrogio da Fossano, Ambrogio di Stefano da Fossano, Ambrogio Stefani da Fossano or as il Bergognone or Ambrogio Egogni c. 1470s – 1523/1524) was an Italian painter of the Renaissance period active in and near Milan.

While he was nearly contemporary with Leonardo da Vinci, he painted in a style more akin to the pre-Renaissance. The dates of his birth and death are unknown; he is said to have been born at Fossano in Piedmont and his appellation attributed to his artistic affiliation with the Burgundian school.

Ambrogio Bergognone
Madonna and Child, from 1488 until 1490
Oil on poplar wood
55.2 × 35.6 cm (21.7 × 14 in)
National Gallery

His fame is principally associated with his work at the Certosa di Pavia complex, composed of the church and convent of the Carthusians. Only one known picture, an altar-piece at the Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio, can with probability be assigned to a period of his career earlier than 1486.

For two years after his return to Milan he worked at the church of San Satiro. From 1497 he was engaged in decorating with paintings the church of the Incoronata. Documentation of him thenceforth is scant. In 1508 he painted for a church in Bergamo; in 1512, his signature appears in a public document of Milan; in 1524 - and this is our last authentic record - he painted a series of frescoes illustrating the life of St. Sisinius in the portico of San Simpliciano at Milan.individuality. He holds an interesting place in the most interesting period of Italian art.

But to judge of his real powers and peculiar ideals, his system of faint and clear coloring, whether in fresco, tempera or oil; his somewhat slender and pallid types, not without something that reminds us of northern art in their Teutonic sentimentality as well as their fidelity of portraiture. More Ambrogio Borgognone

ITALIAN/BYZANTINE SCHOOL 17/18th ct. 
CAMBRAI-MADONNA 
Oil on copper 
35.5 cm by 26 cm.
Private collection

The Cambrai Madonna (or Notre-Dame de Grace) is a small c 1340 Italo-Byzantine, possibly Sienese, replica of an Eleusa (Virgin of Tenderness) icon (below). The work on which it is based is believed to have originated in Tuscany c. 1300, and influenced a wide number of paintings from the following century as well as Florentine sculptures from the 1440–1450s. This version was in turn widely copied across Italy and northern Europe during the 14th and 15th centuries; Filippo Lippi's 1447 The Madonna and Child Enthroned is a well known example.

Unknown
 Icon of the Virgin Eleousa, mid-14th c
Venice

When in 1450 the painting was brought to Cambrai, then part of the Holy Roman Empire ruled by the Dukes of Burgundy and now in France, it was believed an original by Saint Luke, patron saint of artists, for which Mary herself had sat as model. Thus it was treated as a relic; God bestowing miracles on those that travelled to view it.

Unknown
Cambrai Madonna, circa 1340
Italo-Byzantine, possibly Sienese
Replica of an Eleusa icon.
Private collection

The work is significant beyond its aesthetic value: it serves as a bridge between the Byzantine icon tradition and the Italian Quattrocento, and inspired the work of 15th-century Netherlandish artists. After the Ottoman Turks had conquered Constantinople, copies of the painting were commissioned in the Low Countries in support of Philip the Good's projected crusade, announced at the Feast of the Pheasant but never launched. More The Cambrai Madonna

Master of the Osservanza, ACTIVE IN SIENA DURING THE SECOND QUARTER OF THE 15TH CENTURY
THE FLAGELLATION, c. 1441
Tempera and gold on poplar panel
45 x 30.5 cm.; 17 ¾  x 12 in
Private collection

The Flagellation of Christ, sometimes known as Christ at the Column or the Scourging at the Pillar, is a scene from the Passion of Christ very frequently shown in Christian art, in cycles of the Passion or the larger subject of the Life of Christ. It is the fourth station of the modern alternate Stations of the Cross, and a Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary. The column to which Christ is normally tied, and the rope, scourge, whip or birch are elements in the Arma Christi. The Basilica di Santa Prassede in Rome, claimed to possess the original column. More

The Master of the Osservanza Triptych, also known as the Osservanza Master and as the Master of Osservanza, is the name given to an Italian painter of the Sienese School active about 1430 to 1450.

Research in 2010 by Maria Falcone in Siena has revealed the name of the Master to be Sano di Pietro. Falcone found a document about an altarpiece by the “Master of Osservanza” for a church in Asciano, just outside Siena, which was actually under the bishopric of Arezzo. The priest of the church in Asciano did not pay the painter and therefore the city government of Siena had to make an appeal to the bishop in Arezzo to force the priest from his district to pay the artist. The artist’s name was included on the document as Sano di Pietro. More The Master of the Osservanza

Sano di Pietro, or Ansano di Pietro di Mencio (1406–1481) was an Italian painter of the Sienese school of painting. His career spanned from the end of the Trecento period into the Quattrocento period. His contemporaries included Giovanni di Paolo and Sassetta
Sano was born in 1406. His name enters the roll of painters in 1428 where it remained until his death in 1481. In addition to his own painting and overseeing the pupils and assistants in his workshop, he was also part of the civic fabric of Siena. There are city records showing his participation. In 1431 and 1442 he was the leader of the San Donato district of Siena (1). Sano was also employed as an arbitrator; in 1475 he was called upon to settle a dispute between fellow painters Neroccio di Bartolommeo and Francesco di Giorgio Martini (2).
It was, however, as a painter that he made his living. The workshop he ran produced huge number of artworks. Sano himself is quite interesting. He wasn't merely a painter of altar pieces. He also produced frescoes, miniatures, and book bindings. Book bindings are exquisite little paintings that went on the spine of a book. After a long and successful career Sano died in 1481. More Sano di Pietro 

Bicci di Lorenzo, FLORENCE 1373 - 1452
THE NATIVITY, c. 1423
Tempera on poplar panel, gold ground
88 x 58 cm.; 34 5/8  x 22 7/8  in.
Private collection

Bicci revisited the theme of the Nativity numerous times, always varying the poses of his figures in subtle ways.3 The design of this Nativity is most closely comparable to the central predella panel of the triptych in Sant’Ippolito, Bibbiena (Casentino), dated 1435, one of very few of Bicci’s compositions to position the manger parallel with the stable, rather than at an oblique angle. More

The nativity of Jesus or birth of Jesus is described in the gospels of Luke and Matthew. The two accounts agree that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the time of Herod the Great to a betrothed virgin whose name was Mary. There are, however, major differences. Matthew has no census, annunciation to the shepherds or presentation in the Temple, implies that Jesus's parents' home is Bethlehem, and has him born in a house there, and has an unnamed angel appear to Joseph to announce the birth. In Luke there are no Magi, no flight into Egypt, or Massacre of the Innocents, Joseph is a resident of Nazareth, the birth appears to take place in an inn instead of the family home, and the angel (named as Gabriel) announces the coming birth to Mary. While it is possible that Matthew's account might be based on Luke or Luke's on Matthew, the majority of scholars conclude that the two are independent of each other.

In Christian theology the nativity marks the incarnation of Jesus as the second Adam, in fulfillment of the divine will of God, undoing the damage caused by the fall of the first man, Adam. The artistic depiction of the nativity has been a major subject for Christian artists since the 4th century. Since the 13th century, the nativity scene has emphasized the humility of Jesus and promoted a more tender image of him, as a major turning point from the early "Lord and Master" image, affecting the basic approaches of Christian pastoral ministry. More

Bicci di Lorenzo (1373–1452) was an Italian painter and sculptor, active in Florence. He was born in Florence in 1373, the son of the painter, Lorenzo di Bicci, whose workshop he joined. He married in 1418, and in 1424 was registered in the Guild of Painters at Florence. His son, Neri di Bicci was also a painter and took over the family workshop. Bicci di Lorenzo died in Florence in 1452 and was buried in Santa Maria del Carmine.

Following early work – largely frescoes – in collaboration with his father, he received a number of important commissions. Among his major works are an Enthroned Madonna; the Three Scenes from the Life of St Nicholas, and a Nativity in the church of San Giovannino dei Cavalieri in Florence. More Bicci di Lorenzo

13th Century Icon of Saint Panteleimon b. XIII c.
including scenes from his life
Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai

St Pantaleon (c. 275 Nicomedia, Died 305 Nicomedia) came from Nicomedia, near the Black Sea, in Asia. He was such a famous doctor that the Emperor himself chose him for his own doctor. Pantaleon was a Christian, but the bad influence from the pagan court caused him to give up his Christian faith entirely.

A holy priest named Hermolaos made him realize what a sin he had committed. Pantaleon listened to him, detested his sin and joined the Church once more. To make up for what he had done, he greatly desired to suffer and die for Jesus. In the meantime, he imitated Our Lord's charity by taking care of poor sick people without any charge for his medical services.

When the Emperor Diocletian began his persecution, Pantaleon at once gave away everything he owned to the poor. Not long afterwards, he was accused of being a Christian. He was given the choice of denying his Faith or being put to death. No torture could force Pantaleon to deny his Faith.

There has been strong devotion in past ages to this Saint. In the East he is called the "Great Martyr and Wonder-worker."  More

16th century work by an anonymous artist from Toledo
The Martyrdom of Saint Agathius
Martirio de San Acacio
 From Tryptich, Center Panel
111 x 82 cm
 Museo del Prado. Madrid.

Saint Agathius (died 303), also known as Achatius or Agathonas or Acacius of Byzantium, according to Christian tradition, was a Cappadocian Greek centurion of the imperial army, martyred around 304.

He was arrested for his faith on charges for being a Christian by Tribune Firmus in Perinthus, Thrace, tortured, and then brought to Byzantium (the later Constantinople), where he was scourged and beheaded, being made a martyr because he would not give up his Christian Faith. More Saint Agathius

ANTWERP SCHOOL Circa 1520/1550
ADORATION OF THE MAGI
Oil on oak panel, cradled and rounded top
89.5 cm by 57 cm 
Private collection

The Adoration of the Magi (anglicized from the Matthean Vulgate Latin section title: A Magis adoratur) is the name traditionally given to the subject in the Nativity of Jesus in art in which the three Magi, represented as kings, especially in the West, having found Jesus by following a star, lay before him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and worship him. More The Adoration of the Magi

The Antwerp School is a term for the artists active in Antwerp, first during the 16th century when the city was the economic center of the Low Countries, and then during the 17th century when it became the artistic stronghold of the Flemish Baroque under Peter Paul Rubens.

Antwerp took over from Bruges as the main trading and commercial center of the Low Countries around 1500. Painters, artists and craftsmen joined the Guild of Saint Luke, which educated apprentices and guaranteed quality.  More Ecole Anversoise




Acknowledgement: Sotheby'sHargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

09 Carvings - Carvings & Sculpture from the Bible! 15 & 16th Century. With Footnotes, # 8

Our lady and baby Jesus
Terracotta painted sculpture, with silver crown, 18th century
24 cm.
Private collection

TWO CHURCH FATHERS, around 1800
Spain or Italy
Wood, carved in, polychrome and gilt. 
H. 59 cm or 60 cm
Private collection

Two Fathers dressed in liturgical vestments with corresponding attributes: Cast and gospel book or a cathedral. More

The Fathers of the Church are so called because of their leadership in the early Church, especially in defending, expounding, and developing Catholic doctrines. For the first two centuries, most of these men were bishops, although in later years certain priests and deacons were also recognized as Fathers. More Fathers of the Church 

Saint Sebastian, c. 1500
German, probably Franks
Wood, polychrome
H. 230 cm
Private collection

St. Sebastian shackled to a tree wearing only a loincloth. On body several stigmata are visible.

Saint Sebastian (died c. 288 AD) was an early Christian saint and martyr. Sebastian had prudently concealed his faith, but in 286 was detected. Diocletian reproached him for his betrayal, and he commanded him to be led to a field and there to be bound to a stake so that archers from Mauritania would shoot arrows at him. "And the archers shot at him till he was as full of arrows as an urchin is full of pricks, and thus left him there for dead." Miraculously, the arrows did not kill him.

Sebastian later stood by a staircase where the emperor was to pass and harangued Diocletian for his cruelties against Christians. This freedom of speech, and from a person whom he supposed to have been dead, greatly astonished the emperor; but, recovering from his surprise, he gave orders for his being seized and beat to death with cudgels, and his body thrown into the common sewer. A pious lady, called Lucina, admonished by the martyr in a vision, got it privately removed, and buried it in the catacombs at the entrance of the cemetery of Calixtus, where now stands the Basilica of St. Sebastian. More St. Sebastian

MADONNA WITH CHRIST CHILD
Nuremberg, around 1550
Carved in Wood
H. 31 cm
Private collection

Virgin with the Christ child on her right arm, standing on a crescent moon. The depiction of the Madonna on the crescent is based on the vision of John the Evangelist in chapter 12 of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament. More Crescent Madonna


Saint Isabel
Craved and painted wood sculpture
24,5 cm.
Private collection

Isabelle of France (March 1224 – 23 February 1270), sister of St. Louis and daughter of King Louis VIII of France and Blanche of Castile, she refused offers of marriage from several noble suitors to continue her life of virginity consecrated to God. She ministered to the sick and the poor, and after the death of her mother, founded the Franciscan Monastery of the Humility of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Longchamps in Paris. She lived there in austerity but never became a nun and refused to become abbess. She died there on February 23, and her cult was approved in 1521.. More Saint Isabel

Our Lady of Carmo, 18th Century 
Terracotta sculpture
31 cm
Private collection

Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Ordem do Carmo) is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid-13th century. They built in the midst of their hermitages a chapel which they dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, whom they conceived of in chivalric terms as the "Lady of the place."

The Carmelite Order was the only religious order to be started in the Crusader States.  More Our Lady of Carmo

Saint Francis and Christ
Carved wood sculpture
72 cm.
Private collection

Saint Francis of Assisi (1181/1182 – 3 October 1226),[1][3] was an Italian Roman Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Order of Friars Minor, the women’s Order of Saint Clare, the Third Order of Saint Francis and the Custody of the Holy Land. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history.
In 1219, he went to Egypt in an attempt to convert the Sultan to put an end to the conflict of the Crusades. By this point, the Franciscan Order had grown to such an extent that its primitive organizational structure was no longer sufficient. He returned to Italy to organize the Order. In 1224, he received the stigmata, during the apparition of Seraphic angels in a religious ecstasy making him the first recorded person to bear the wounds of Christ's Passion. More Saint Francis

Our Lady, 17th century, 
Carved and painted wood
72 cm.
Private collection

Saint Nicholas (15 March 270 – 6 December 343)
Ons Lieve Heer op Solder, Amsterdam, Netherland

Saint Nicholas (15 March 270 – 6 December 343), also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra, in Asia Minor. Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker. His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints, and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus through Sinterklaas.

The historical Saint Nicholas, as known from strict history: He was born at Patara, Lycia in Asia Minor. In his youth he made a pilgrimage to Egypt and the Palestine area. Shortly after his return he became Bishop of Myra and was later cast into prison during the persecution of Diocletian. He was released after the accession of Constantine and was present at the Council of Nicaea. 

He was buried in his church at Myra, and by the 6th century his shrine there had become well-known. In 1087 Italian sailors or merchants stole his alleged remains from Myra and took them to Bari, Italy; this removal greatly increased the saint’s popularity in Europe, and Bari became one of the most crowded of all pilgrimage centres. Nicholas’s relics remain enshrined in the 11th-century basilica of San Nicola at Bari. More Saint Nicholas 



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Monday, February 27, 2017

14 Paintings, scenes from the Bible, by The Old Masters, with footnotes # 41

COLOGNE, CIRCA 1430/40
Sitting Crescent Madonna and Child flanked by St. Peter and Paul.
Oil on wood.
55 x 65.3 cm.
Private collection

This recently rediscounted painting with the seated Crescent Moon Madonna flanked by the Saints Peter and Paul was once part of a memorial plaque presumably commissioned for the St. Clare monastery in Cologne. 

The depiction of the Madonna on the crescent is based on the vision of John the Evangelist in chapter 12 of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament. "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars; And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered."  More

Saint Peter (AD 30; d. between AD 64 and 68), also known as Simon Peter, Simeon, or Simōn, according to the New Testament, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. The Roman Catholic Church considers him to be the first pope, ordained by Jesus in the "Rock of My Church" dialogue in Matthew 16:18.  More Saint Peter

Paul the Apostle (c. 5 – c. 67), commonly known as Saint Paul, and also known by his native name Saul of Tarsus was an apostle (though not one of the Twelve Apostles) who taught the gospel of the Christ to the first century world. He is generally considered one of the most important figures of the Apostolic Age. In the mid-30s to the mid-50s AD, he founded several churches in Asia Minor and Europe. Paul took advantage of his status as both a Jew and a Roman citizen to minister to both Jewish and Roman audiences. More Saint Paul

FRA GIULIANO DI AMADEO
(active in Florence, Arezzo and Rome circa 1453 - 1490)
Saint Ignatius of Antioch.
Tempera on panel.
55.5 x 35.5 cm.
Private collection

Ignatius of Antioch  (c. 35  – c. 108), also known as Ignatius Theophorus, and Ignatius Nurono, was an early Christian writer and bishop of Antioch. En route to Rome, where he met his martyrdom, Ignatius wrote a series of letters. This correspondence now forms a central part of the later collection known as the Apostolic Fathers. His letters also serve as an example of early Christian theology. Important topics they address include ecclesiology, the sacraments, and the role of bishops. In speaking of the authority of the church, he coined the phrase "catholic church", still in use to this day. More Ignatius of Antioch

AMEDEI, Giuliano, (b. ca. 1446, Firenze, d. 1496, Lucca) Italian painter and illuminator. He was a Camaldolese monk. He was trained as a miniaturist in the circle of Fra Angelico, whose influence extended into the precincts of the celebrated scriptorium of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence. Piero, Fra Giuliano found employment in the Roman Curia, becoming one of the city's most prolific and influential miniaturists in the Rome of Pius II, the great humanist pope. 

His reputation seems to have been established primarily in Rome, although he maintained ecclesiastic benefices from the Arezzo area. As late as the 1490s many miniaturists came to Rome to seek their fortune, working on manuscripts under Amedei's supervision. Fra Giuliano's codices were commissioned mainly by prelates associated with the Curia of Pius II, and of his successors. His later miniatures, including the now dismembered missal of Innocent VIII, show a singular attempt to keep pace with the complex new style of the Sistine Chapel painters, particularly Ghirlandaio and Perugino, but his own artistic roots are always evident. More AMEDEI, Giuliano

GERINI, NICCOLO DI PIETRO, (Around 1345 Florence 1415)
Saint Augustin, Saint Nicholas and Saint Agatha. Circa 1400-1405.
Tempera and gold ground on panel.
65 x 49 cm.
Private collection

Augustine of Hippo (13 November 354 – 28 August 430) was an early Christian theologian and philosopher whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He was the bishop of Hippo Regius (within modern-day Annaba, Algeria). Augustine is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in Western Christianity for his writings in the Patristic Era. Among his most important works are The City of God and Confessions.

In his early years, he was heavily influenced by Manichaeism and afterward by the neo-Platonism of Plotinus. After his baptism and conversion to Christianity in 386, Augustine developed his own approach to philosophy and theology, accommodating a variety of methods and perspectives. When the Western Roman Empire began to disintegrate, Augustine developed the concept of the Church as a spiritual City of God, distinct from the material Earthly City. His thoughts profoundly influenced the medieval worldview. 

Augustine is recognized as a saint in the Catholic Church, the Eastern Christian Church, and the Anglican Communion and as a preeminent Doctor of the Church. He is also the patron of the Augustinians. More Augustine of Hippo

GERINI, NICCOLO DI PIETRO, (Around 1345 Florence 1415)
Saint Augustin
Detail

Saint Nicholas (15 March 270 – 6 December 343), also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra, in Asia Minor. His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints, and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus through Sinterklaas.

He was born at Patara, Lycia in Asia Minor. In his youth he made a pilgrimage to Egypt and the Palestine area. Shortly after his return he became Bishop of Myra and was later cast into prison during the persecution of Diocletian. He was released after the accession of Constantine and was present at the Council of Nicaea. 

He was buried in his church at Myra, and by the 6th century his shrine there had become well-known. In 1087 Italian sailors or merchants stole his alleged remains from Myra and took them to Bari, Italy; this removal greatly increased the saint’s popularity in Europe, and Bari became one of the most crowded of all pilgrimage centres. Nicholas’s relics remain enshrined in the 11th-century basilica of San Nicola at Bari. More Saint Nicholas

GERINI, NICCOLO DI PIETRO, (Around 1345 Florence 1415)
Saint Nicholas
Detail

Saint Agatha of Sicily (231 AD – 251 AD) is a Christian saint and virgin martyr. Agatha was born at Catania or Palermo, Sicily, and she was martyred in approximately 251. She is one of seven women, who, along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, are commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass. 

Although the martyrdom of Saint Agatha is authenticated, and her veneration as a saint had spread beyond her native place even in antiquity, there is no reliable information concerning the details of her death. Having dedicated her virginity to God, at fifteen-year-old, Agatha rejected the amorous advances of the low-born Roman prefect Quintianus, who then persecuted her for her Christian faith. He sent Agatha to Aphrodisia, the keeper of a brothel. The madam finding her intractable, Quintianus sent for her, argued, threatened, and finally had her put in prison. Amongst the tortures she underwent was the cutting off of her breasts with pincers. Saint Agatha was then sentenced to be burnt at the stake, but an earthquake saved her from that fate; instead, she was sent to prison where St. Peter the Apostle appeared to her and healed her wounds. Saint Agatha died in prison. More Saint Agatha

GERINI, NICCOLO DI PIETRO, (Around 1345 Florence 1415)
Saint Agatha
Detail

Niccolò di Pietro Gerini (c. 1340 – 1414) was an Italian painter of the late Gothic period, active mainly in his native Florence. He was not an innovative painter but relied on traditional compositions in which he placed his figures in a stiff and dramatic movement.

In 1368, Niccolò Dipintore is identified as a member of the Arte dei Medici e Speziali Guild, in Florence.

As is typical for Gothic depictions, Gerini's figures have large chins, sloping foreheads, and sharp noses whilst their bodies are squat and frontally displaced.

Gerini collaborated with Jacopo di Cione on a Coronation of the Virgin (Accademia, Florence) in 1372. It was commissioned by the mint of Florence Zecca Vecchia that same year. In 1383 Gerini again worked with Cione on a fresco of the Annunciation in the Palazzo dei Priori, Volterra. This fresco clearly shows the work of two very different artists: Niccolò di Pietro Gerini (design and very fine painting) and Jacopo di Cione (broadly painted saints and side decoration).

Between 1391 and 1392 he worked in Prato where he frescoed Palazzo Datini and the Church of San Francesco with Lorenzo di Niccolò and Agnolo Gaddi. He also frescoed the capitals of the church of San Francesco, Pisa. More Niccolò di Pietro Gerini 

GERMAN SCHOOL, END OF THE 15TH CENTURY
The beheading of Saint James
Oil on panel.
78 x 36.2 cm
Private collection
James, son of Zebedee ( died 44 AD) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and traditionally considered the first apostle to be martyred. He was a son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of John the Apostle. He is also called James the Greater or James the Great to distinguish him from James, son of Alphaeus and James the brother of Jesus (James the Just). James the son of Zebedee is the patron saint of Spaniards, and as such is often identified as Santiago.

The Acts of the Apostles records that "Herod the king" had James executed by sword. He is the only apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament. He is, thus, traditionally believed to be the first of the twelve apostles martyred for his faith. More Saint James

The German Renaissance, part of the Northern Renaissance, was a cultural and artistic movement that spread among German thinkers in the 15th and 16th centuries, which developed from the Italian Renaissance. Many areas of the arts and sciences were influenced, notably by the spread of Renaissance humanism to the various German states and principalities. There were many advances made in the fields of architecture, the arts, and the sciences. Germany produced two developments that were to dominate the 16th century all over Europe: printing and the Protestant Reformation. More German Renaissance

Antonio Tempesta, (Florence 1555 - 1630 Rome)
Resurrection of Christ and the three Marys at the tomb. Around 1600.
Tempera on dendritic stone (pietra arboraria).
22 x 37.5 cm (oval).
Private collection

Small-scale paintings on the dendritic stone of Antonio Tempesta, such as the work above, were very popular at the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th century and are part of the most important art chamber collections of this period.

The above painting consists of a dendritic stone from the family of agates, whose natural pattern evokes a rocky landscape. Similar, carefully cut stones were often used as incrustations in furniture pieces. The oval shape of our painting suggests that this panel was originally conceived as a cabinet decoration. More dendritic stone

The resurrection of Jesus is the Christian religious belief that, after being put to death, Jesus rose again from the dead. It is the central tenet of Christian theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures"

Antonio Tempesta, (Florence 1555 - 1630 Rome)
Resurrection of Christ and the three Marys at the tomb. Around 1600.
Detail

Just before sunrise on the day after the regular weekly Sabbath three women, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, come to anoint Jesus' body, wondering how they would be able to roll the large rock away from the tomb; but they found the rock already rolled aside and a young man in white inside; he told them that Jesus had risen, and that they should tell Peter and the disciples that he will meet them in Galilee, "just as he told you". More The resurrection of Jesus 

Antonio Tempesta, (Florence 1555 - 1630 Rome)
Resurrection of Christ and the three Marys at the tomb. Around 1600.
Detail

Antonio Tempesta (1555 – 5 August 1630) was an Italian painter and engraver, whose art acted as a point of connection between Baroque Rome and the culture of Antwerp.

He was born and trained in Florence and painted in a variety of styles, influenced to some degree by "Counter-Maniera" or Counter-Mannerism. He enrolled in the Florentine Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in 1576. He was a pupil of Santi di Tito, then of the Flemish painter Joannes Stradanus. He was part of the large team of artists working under Giorgio Vasari on the interior decoration of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.

His favourite subjects were battles, cavalcades, and processions. He relocated to Rome, where he associated with artists from the Habsburg Netherlands, which may have led to his facility with landscape painting. More Antonio Tempesta

Master of the Mansi Magdalen (fl. circa 1510–1530)
Judith and the Infant Hercules, circa 1525-30
Oil on oak
81.5 × 57.5 cm (32.1 × 22.6 in)
National Gallery, London

Judith, an Old Testament heroine, holds the head of Holofernes and the sword with which she has decapitated him. The infant Hercules, a classical hero, is strangling the serpents Juno sent to destroy him. Both Judith and Hercules are exemplary figures of fortitude, shown naked to emphasise their defencelessness. More Judith and the Infant Hercules

The Book of Judith is the Old Testament of the Bible. The story revolves around Judith, a daring and beautiful widow, who is upset with her Jewish countrymen for not trusting God to deliver them from their foreign conquerors. She goes with her loyal maid to the camp of the enemy general, Holofernes, with whom she slowly ingratiates herself, promising him information on the Israelites. Gaining his trust, she is allowed access to his tent one night as he lies in a drunken stupor. She decapitates him, then takes his head back to her fearful countrymen. The Assyrians, having lost their leader, disperse, and Israel is saved. Though she is courted by many, Judith remains unmarried for the rest of her life. More

Master of the Mansi Magdalenactive early 16th century. The Master is named from a picture known as 'The Mansi Magdalen' (Berlin, Staatliche Museum), perhaps of about 1525 or later. The Master borrowed from some of the engravings by Dürer, one as late as 1511. He was a follower of Quinten Massys. More Master of the Mansi Magdalen

CRANACH, LUCAS d. Ä. (CIRCUIT), (Kronach 1472 - 1553 Weimar)
The birth of Christ. Around 1520-25.
Oil on lime wood.
33.8 x 24.8 cm.
Private collection

The nativity of Jesus or birth of Jesus is described in the gospels of Luke and Matthew. The two accounts agree that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the time of Herod the Great to a betrothed virgin whose name was Mary. There are, however, major differences. Matthew has no census, annunciation to the shepherds or presentation in the Temple, implies that Jesus's parents' home is Bethlehem, and has him born in a house there, and has an unnamed angel appear to Joseph to announce the birth. In Luke there are no Magi, no flight into Egypt, or Massacre of the Innocents, Joseph is a resident of Nazareth, the birth appears to take place in an inn instead of the family home, and the angel (named as Gabriel) announces the coming birth to Mary. While it is possible that Matthew's account might be based on Luke or Luke's on Matthew, the majority of scholars conclude that the two are independent of each other.

In Christian theology the nativity marks the incarnation of Jesus as the second Adam, in fulfillment of the divine will of God, undoing the damage caused by the fall of the first man, Adam. The artistic depiction of the nativity has been a major subject for Christian artists since the 4th century. Since the 13th century, the nativity scene has emphasized the humility of Jesus and promoted a more tender image of him, as a major turning point from the early "Lord and Master" image, affecting the basic approaches of Christian pastoral ministry. More

Lucas Cranach the Elder, (c. 1472 16 October 1553) was a German Renaissance painter and printmaker in woodcut and engraving. He was court painter to the Electors of Saxony for most of his career, and is known for his portraits, both of German princes and those of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation, whose cause he embraced with enthusiasm, becoming a close friend of Martin Luther. He also painted religious subjects, first in the Catholic tradition, and later trying to find new ways of conveying Lutheran religious concerns in art. He continued throughout his career to paint nude subjects drawn from mythology and religion. He had a large workshop and many works exist in different versions; his son Lucas Cranach the Younger, and others, continued to create versions of his father's works for decades after his death. Lucas Cranach the Elder has been considered the most successful German artist of his time. More

Master of the Mansi Magdalen (fl. circa 1510–1530)
Rest on the Flight into Egypt, between 1515 and 1525
Oil on panel
40 × 28.5 cm (15.7 × 11.2 in)
Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland

Simple images of the Virgin and Child were often found in private homes as an inspiration to prayer and meditation. The Gospels tells us little of the Holy Family's flight into Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod, though later legends describe the family stopping to rest and take nourishment. While the Virgin sits humbly on the ground and nurses her child, she is regally dressed, and angels hold a crown above her head in anticipation of her future role as Queen of Heaven. The columbines flowering in the foreground, an inn in the middle distance, and the wilderness through which the family has fled, depicted by overlapping hills receding to snowy peaks, reflect the new interest in the natural world among Antwerp painters at this time. More Rest on the Flight into Egypt

Master of the Mansi Magdalen (fl. circa 1510–1530), see above

16th century follower of REYMERSWALE, MARINUS VON (about 1493 - about 1546 Goes)
Scenes from the life of Jesus.
Oil on panel.
84.5 x 116.5 cm.
Private collection

Marinus Claeszoon van Reymerswaele (c.1490–c.1546) was a Dutch painter. Marinus van Reymerswaele received later the name of the city of Reimerswaal, Netherlands, where he was born and where he worked, at least from 1533-1540. In the latter year he moved to Goes, where he died around 1546. He is also named Marinus de Seeu (from Zeeland, a province of the Netherlands). He studied at the University of Leuven (1504) and was trained as a painter in Antwerp (1509). His name is known from a small number of signed panels. A number of other paintings are attributed to Marinus on stylistic grounds. His oeuvre consists of a relatively small numbers of themes only, mostly adapted from Quentin Massys and Albrecht Dürer. More Marinus Claeszoon van Reymerswaele

16th century follower of REYMERSWALE, MARINUS VON (about 1493 - about 1546 Goes)
Scenes from the life of Jesus.
Detail

16th century follower of REYMERSWALE, MARINUS VON (about 1493 - about 1546 Goes)
Scenes from the life of Jesus.
Detail

16th century follower of REYMERSWALE, MARINUS VON (about 1493 - about 1546 Goes)
Scenes from the life of Jesus.
Detail




School FRENCH 1847 
A Nun holding a crucifix, c. 1847
Oil on canvas 
65 x 84 cm 
Private collection

Attributed to Giovan Battista LENARDI (1656 - 1704)
The ecstasy of saint Pascal Baylon
Oval copper
Private collection

Saint Paschal Baylon (16 May 1540 – 17 May 1592) was a Spanish friar and is a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. He is the patron saint of Eucharistic congresses and Eucharistic associations.

He was born at Torrehermosa, in the Kingdom of Aragon, on 16 May 1540, on the Feast of Pentecost, called in Spain "the Pasch (or "Passover") of the Holy Ghost", hence the name Paschal. He spent his youth as a shepherd. He would carry a book with him and beg passersby to teach him the alphabet and to read, and as he toiled in the fields he would read religious books.

In around 1564, he joined the Reformed Franciscan Order as a lay brother. He chose to live in poor monasteries because, he said, "I was born poor and am resolved to die in poverty and penance." He lived a life of poverty and prayer, even praying while working, for the rest of his life.

He was a mystic and contemplative, and he had frequent ecstatic visions. He would spend nights before the altar in prayer. At the same time, he sought to downplay any glory that might come from this piety. More Saint Paschal Baylon

Giovanni Battista Lenardi (active circa 1660, died after 1703) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period, active mainly in Rome.

Lenardi was born in Ascoli Piceno, and trained in Rome with Pietro da Cortona and then Lazzaro Baldi. He painted for the church of Sant'Andrea delle Fratte and the Buonfratelli in Trastevere. Lenardi became a member of the Accademia de San Luca in 1690. More Giovanni Battista Lenardi

LOMBARDE School 1640 
Saint Gregory the Great 
83.5 x 44.5 cm
Private collection

LOMBARDE School. In the sixteenth century, Mantua was an independent state ruled by the Gonzaga family, while Bergamo and Brescia were both part of Venice’s western terraferma. The proximity of the latter two to Milan, however, is deeply significant for the development of their artistic schools, and their painters are frequently grouped with other Lombard artists.

The Sforza dukes presided over their court, one of the most magnificent in Europe, at the Castello Sforzesco in the heart of Milan. The dukes were great patrons of the arts, founding churches and building grand castles in neighboring Pavia and Vigevano, as well as in Milan. At their suggestion, the French, under Charles VIII, first entered Italy in 1494—it was a disastrous invitation, ultimately leading to the loss of Milanese independence. In 1499, Louis XII drove out the Sforza duke Ludovico. Milan and its territory fell definitively under imperial domination following the Battle of Pavia (1525), which Francis I lost to the Habsburg emperor Charles V. Although Francesco II Sforza was made duke, it was at Charles’s sufferance, and after Francesco’s death in 1535 the city was ruled by Spanish governors. These political twists and turns had a major impact on the local community of artists. More Lombard School


LOMBARDE School 1640 
Saint Gregory the Great 
Detail

Pope Saint Gregory I (c. 540 – 12 March 604), commonly known as Saint Gregory the Great, was pope of the Catholic Church from 3 September 590 to his death in 604. Gregory is famous for instigating the first recorded large-scale mission from Rome to convert a pagan people to Christianity. Gregory is also well known for his writings, which were more prolific than those of any of his predecessors as pope. He is also known as the Great Visionary of Modern Educational System, for his writings and contribution to the school system of education instead of apprenticeships based learning. The epithet Saint Gregory the Dialogist has been attached to him in Eastern Christianity because of his Dialogues. For this reason, English translations of Eastern texts will sometimes list him as Gregory "Dialogos" or the Latinized equivalent "Dialogus".


Although he was the first pope from a monastic background, his prior political experiences may have helped him to be a talented administrator, who successfully established papal supremacy. During his papacy he greatly surpassed with his administration the emperors in improving the welfare of the people of Rome. Gregory regained papal authority in Spain and France, and sent missionaries to England. The realignment of barbarian allegiance to Rome from their Arian Christian alliances shaped medieval Europe. Gregory saw Franks, Lombards, and Visigoths align with Rome in religion. More Pope Saint Gregory I


Attribué à Jean RESTOUT (1692-1768) 
Saint André 
Oil on canvas
68 x 54 cm
Private collection

Andrew the Apostle (from the early 1st century – mid to late 1st century AD), also known as Saint Andrew was a Christian Apostle and the brother of Saint Peter.
The name "Andrew", like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews, Christians, and other Hellenized people of Judea. No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him. According to Orthodox tradition, the apostolic successor to Saint Andrew is the Patriarch of Constantinople. More Andrew the Apostle 
Most references to Andrew in the New Testament simply include him on a list of the Twelve Apostles, or group him with his brother, Simon Peter. But he appears acting as an individual three times in the Gospel of John. Before Jesus feeds the Five Thousand, it is Andrew who says, "Here is a lad with five barley loaves and two fish." And the first two disciples whom John reports as attaching themselves to Jesus are Andrew and another disciple. Having met Jesus, Andrew then finds his brother Simon and brings him to Jesus. Thus, on each occasion when he is mentioned as an individual, it is because he is instrumental in bringing others to meet the Saviour. More Andrew
Andrew is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at the city of Patras (Patræ) in Achaea. Early texts describe Andrew as bound, not nailed, and crucified on a cross of the form called crux decussata, now commonly known as a "Saint Andrew's Cross" 

Jean II Restout (26 March 1692 – 1 January 1768) was a French painter, whose late baroque classicism rendered his altarpieces, such as the Death of Saint Scholastica an "isolated achievement" that ran counter to his rococo contemporaries.

Jean Restout was born in Rouen, the son of Jean I Restout and Marie M. Jouvenet, sister and pupil of the then well-known painter Jean Jouvenet.

In 1717, the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture having elected him a member on his work for the Prix de Rome, he remained in Paris, instead of proceeding to Italy, exhibited at all the salons, and filled successively every post of academical distinction. His works, chiefly altar-pieces, ceilings and designs for Gobelin tapestries, were engraved by Charles-Nicolas Cochin, Drevet and others.

His son, Jean-Bernard Restout (1732–1797), won the Prix de Rome in 1758, and on his return from Italy was received into the Academy; but his refusal to comply with rules led to a quarrel with that body. Roland appointed him keeper of the Garde Meuble, but this piece of favor nearly cost him his life during the Terror. More

Flemish School
The Temptation of Saint Anthony, circa 1550 
Oak panel,
60 x 97,5 cm
Private collection

The Temptation of Saint Anthony is an often-repeated subject in history of art and literature, concerning the supernatural temptation reportedly faced by Saint Anthony the Great during his sojourn in the Egyptian desert. Anthony's temptation is first discussed by Athanasius of Alexandria, Anthony's contemporary, and from then became a popular theme in Western culture. More Temptation of Saint Anthony

Flemish painting flourished from the early 15th century until the 17th century. Flanders delivered the leading painters in Northern Europe and attracted many promising young painters from neighbouring countries. These painters were invited to work at foreign courts and had a Europe-wide influence. Since the end of the Napoleonic era, Flemish painters had again been contributing to a reputation that had been set by the Old Masters. More Flemish painting




Acknowledgement: LECLERE - MDV, Kollar

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