Saints Paul and Peter

Lateral panel of an altarpiece from Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome; probably begun by Masaccio and finished after his death by Masolino; companion to panels in John G. Johnson collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art (Inv. 409), and in the National Gallery, London (5962, 5963); the Museo e Gallerie Nazionali di Capodimonte, Naples (33,35); and the Pinacoteca Vaticana (no. 245, no. 260)

Masolino (Tommaso di Cristoforo Fini), also called Masolino da Panicale, Italian (active Florence, Hungary, Rome, Todi, and Castiglione d'Olona), 1383/84 - after 1444, and Masaccio (Tommaso di Ser Giovanni Cassai), Italian (active Florence), 1401 - 1428.

Made in Rome, Italy, Europe

c. 1427-1428

Tempera and tooled gold on panel with vertical grain

45 x 21 3/8 inches (114.3 x 54.3 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 212, European Art 1100-1500, second floor

Accession Number:
Inv. 408

Credit Line:
John G. Johnson Collection, 1917

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This painting comes from a two-sided altarpiece once in the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. It is generally thought that the great Renaissance master Masaccio designed and began painting this panel before he died at age 27. Masolino, with whom Masaccio had collaborated before, finished his young colleague's work.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    Martin V, who reigned from 1417 to 1431 as the first pope of the Roman Catholic church newly reunited after a long schism, set about rebuilding and ornamenting the degraded city of Rome. As a consequence, many artists, including Masaccio and Masolino from Florence, were attracted by commissions to Rome. The two worked on an altarpiece for the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. This image of Saints Paul and Peter is one of two panels in the Museum that were originally opposite sides of a single section of the altarpiece. They were begun by Masaccio and finished by Masolino after the former's untimely death at age twenty-seven. Masolino's task was not an easy one, because he was asked to reverse the saints' positions. Masolino made the requested modifications, but did so by incorporating what work Masaccio had finished. In Saints Paul and Peter, for example, he carefully painted around the already executed hands, feet, and blue drapery to adapt Masaccio's design to the new iconography. Carl Brandon Strehlke, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 163.

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