Giovanni Battista Bertucci Sr., St. John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene

Giovanni Battista Bertucci sr.,
St. John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene

These are the side compartments of the famous altar piece commissioned by Venerio Mengolini to G.B. Bertucci for the family chapel in the Church of the Monastery of St. Catherine, suppressed during the Napoleonic era. The polyptych was removed from its original location and became private property. It was then disassembled and dispersed. The central board with the Adoration of the Magi was lost during the war to the Berlin Museum, the lunette with the Coronation of the Virgin, which had previously been in a private collection in Graz, is now in a private collection in Vienna.

Mary Magdalene and St. John are depicted in full figure and turned three-quarters, one with hands joined in prayer and glancing skyward, the other pointing skyward, holding a cane cross and bowl in the other hand. These two dreamy figures stand out against a luminous landscape in tones of green and pale blues; in addition to the affinity with the style of Pinturicchio and Perugino, and with methods common to the culture of Costa and Francia, two artists from Bologna, in the drapery of Mary Magdalene’s robe and the composition of the landscape, we can also perceive an extension of Bertucci’s knowledge of Florentine painting.

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