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Virgin and Child Enthroned and a Servite Friar, with Angels

c. 1319
Pietro Lorenzetti, Italian (active Siena, Cortona, Assisi, Arezzo, and Florence), first documented 1306, last documented 1345

This work once formed the center section of a large altarpiece. The small man kneeling in prayer wears the robe and tonsured haircut of a monk or friar. His diminutive size, lack of a halo, and posture of reverence indicate that he is not a heavenly being. He is, in fact, the donor who commissioned this altarpiece, probably for the church of his own convent.

During recent conservation, fragments of the artist's signature were discovered at the bottom of the panel.


Object Details
Church of San Clemente a Santa Maria dei Servi (Siena), high altarpiece(?). Main panel (cat. 91): Possibly collection of the Chigi Saracini family, Siena [1]. Possibly with Torrini antique shop, Siena [2]. George Dormer Fawcus (1858–1925), Quinto al Mare, near Genoa [3]; Ulrich Jaeger, Genoa; with R. Langton Douglas (1864–1951), London, c. 1908; sold to John G. Johnson (1841–1917), Philadelphia, c. 1909 [4]; bequest to the City of Philadelphia, 1917.Spandrels (EW1985-21-1,2): Prince Lev Pavlovitch Ouroussoff, known as Léon Ouroussoff (1839–1928), Vienna [5]. Carl W. Hamilton (1886–1967), New York; with Duveen Brothers, New York, c. 1931–33; sold to Royal Cortissoz (1869–1948), New York [6]; by inheritance to his niece, Dorothy P. West; her(?) sale, New York, Christie’s, June 12, 1981, no. 127, bought in; sold to PMA, 1985.1. According to Carl Brandon Strehlke, Italian Paintings, 1250–1450, in the John G. Johnson Collection and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2004), pp. 128, 216, Strehlke, Italian Paintings, p. 216, An English resident of Genoa, Fawcus founded the Genoa soccer team.4. See the letter from Mary Berenson to Johnson, New York, February 9, 1909, regarding her husband Bernard’s identification of a work, a photograph of which was sent to him by Johnson, as “not of an Ambrozio, but of a Pietro Lorenzetti,” which had been in the collection of Ulrich Jaeger. In a subsequent letter from Johnson to Bernard Berenson, dated Philadelphia, May 14, 1909, Johnson noted, “I have just managed to acquire a very attractive Lorenzetti, attributed to Ambrozio, but much more probably by Pietro.” Both letters can be found in the John G. Johnson Papers, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library and Archives, and, respectively.5. Ouroussoff served as Russian ambassador to Bucharest, Brussels, Paris, and Vienna.6. Cortissoz was art critic for the New York Herald Tribune.

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