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Saint Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata

Base of a processional standard

Master of Staffolo (Costantino di Franceschino di Cicco di Nicoluccio?), Italian (active Fabriano), documented 1417 - 1459

Geography:
Made in Italy, Europe

Date:
c. 1420

Medium:
Tempera on panel with vertical grain

Dimensions:
6 7/8 x 12 1/4 x 3/8 inches (17.5 x 31.1 x 1 cm) Framed: 10 5/8 x 16 1/4 x 2 inches (27 x 41.3 x 5.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
Cat. 121

Credit Line:
John G. Johnson Collection, 1917

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Additional information:
  • PublicationItalian Paintings 1250-1450

    The scene takes place in the rugged landscape of Mount La Verna, where on the night of September 14, 1224, Saint Francis of Assisi is said to have received the stigmata, or the impressions of Christ's crucifixion wounds. Here Francis kneels in an orant position as the stigmata are transmitted to him by golden rays issuing from a seraph in the sky. Unaware of the miracle, Francis's companion, Friar Leo, reads a book.

    Bernhard Berenson (1913) recognized the relationship between this panel and Gentile da Fabriano's Saint Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata, then in the Fornari Collection in Fabriano,1 which was one side of a processional standard painted in the spring of 1420 for the Franciscan church of Fabriano. The other side, showing the Coronation of the Virgin, is in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.2 Whereas Berenson thought that the Johnson Collection's painting predated Gentile's picture, Andrea De Marchi (1992) noted that the reverse was true. The fame that Gentile's standard enjoyed was such that several other artists painted derivations of it,3 some of which date several decades later. The Master of Staffolo made at least three copies or versions of the scene of Saint Francis: the Johnson picture, a painting in a private Florentine collection (see Florence, private collection), and one that is the base of a processional standard in Assisi.4 The main part of the Assisi standard contains Saint Bernardino of Siena's emblem of the Name of Christ, which means that the work can be dated after 1425 on the basis of Bernardino's sermons in the town on September 9 of that year.5 The Johnson panel, which originally was also the base of a standard, probably dates around the same time. Carl Brandon Strehlke, from Italian paintings, 1250-1450, in the John G. Johnson Collection and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2004, pp. 311-313.

    Notes:

    1. Corte di Mamiano, Traversetolo (Parma), Fondazione Magnani; Andrea De Marchi. Gentile da Fabriano: un viaggio nella pittura italiana alla fine del gotico. Milan, 1992, color plate 32.
    2. No. 77.PB.92; De Marchi 1992, color plate 33.
    3. The copies of Saint Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata are listed by De Marchi (1992, p. 129 n. 5).
    4. Il tesoro della basilica di San Francesco ad Assisi. Edited by Maria Grazia Ciardi Dupré Dal Poggetto. Introduction by Ulrich Middeldorf. Il miracolo di Assisi: collana storico-artistica della basilica e del sacro convento di S. Francesco-Assisi, 3. Assisi, 1980, plate 39.
    5. Pietro Scarpellini in Assisi 1980, pp. 51-55, plate XLVI, fig. 39.

    Bibliography:

    Bernhard Berenson. Catalogue of a Collection of Paintings and Some Art Objects. Vol. 1, Italian Paintings. Philadelphia, 1913, p. 70, repro. p. 308 (school of Fabriano, precursor of Gentile);
    Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. vol. 5. The Hague, 1925, p. 198 n. 1;
    John G. Johnson Collection: Catalogue of Paintings. Foreword by Henri Marceau. Philadelphia, 1941, p. 6 (School of Fabriano, c. 1400);
    [Barbara Sweeny]. John G. Johnson Collection: Catalogue of Italian Paintings. Foreword by Henri Marceau. Philadelphia, 1966, p. 28 (School of Fabriano, c. 1400);
    Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, 1972, p. 243 (Umbria, fifteenth century);
    Andrea De Marchi. Gentile da Fabriano: un viaggio nella pittura italiana alla fine del gotico. Milan, 1992, p. 129 n. 5;
    Philadelphia Museum of Art. Paintings from Europe and the Americas in the Philadelphia Museum of Art: A Concise Catalogue. Philadelphia, 1994, repro. p. 218 (Master of Staffolo [Costantino di Francescuccio di Cecco Ghissi?]);
    Bonita Cleri and Giampiero Donnini. Il Maestro di Staffolo nella cultura artistica fabrianese del quattrocento. Camerano, 2002, p. 72.