Martyrdom of Saints John the Baptist and Lawrence
Predella panel; companion to two panels in the John G. Johnson Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art (Inv. 1291, 1292)
Cenni di Francesco (Cenni di Francesco Cenni di Ser Cenni), Italian (active Florence, Volterra, and San Gimignano), first documented 1369, died 1414
This panel was originally part of a long, horizontal plank that was the predella, or base, of an altarpiece. The subject of this scene and the two others that completed the predella—one showing the Adoration of the Magi and the other representing the Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew and the Miracle of the Bull (Philadelphia Museum of Art, inv. 1291, 1292)—indicate that the main sections of the altarpiece depicted, from left to right: Saint John the Baptist, Saint Lawrence, the Virgin and Child, Saint Bartholomew, and Saint Michael Archangel. The presence of Saint Lawrence to the right of the Virgin, the traditional place of honor, suggests that the altarpiece was originally in a chapel or church dedicated to that saint, most likely in or near the artist’s hometown of Florence.