Scourging of the Four Crowned Martyrs
Section of an altarpiece; companion panels are in the Denver Art Museum (no. E-IT-18-XV-927); the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama (no. 1961.119); and a private collection
Niccolò di Pietro Gerini, Italian (active Florence), first documented 1368, died 1415
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This panel illustrates a story of four Middle Eastern Christian sculptors, known as the Crowned Martyrs, who refused to carve pagan images for the Roman emperor Diocletian. In the upper left, Christ comes to comfort them during their torture, while below, devils strangle the Roman official Lampadius, who ordered the punishment.
The Four Crowned Martyrs were patron saints of the Florentine Guild of Stonemasons and Carpenters, which also included sculptors in their membership. The painting comes from an altarpiece the guild commissioned for its altar in the church of Orsanmichele in Florence.
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