Giovanni Battista Bertucci Sr., Virgin with Child and Saints Bernardino of Siena, John the Baptist, Pope Celestine and Anthony of Padua

Giovanni Battista Bertucci sr.,
Virgin with Child and Saints Bernardino of Siena, John the Baptist, Pope Celestine and Anthony of Padua

Virgin with Child and Saints Bernardino of Siena, John the Baptist, Pope Celestine and Anthony of Padua
1511, wood, 123×175 cm + frame 6 cm, Inv. n. 178

From a writing on the step of the throne emerges the date of the work – 1511 – and the name of a certain Giacomo Cittadini, who commissioned it. Even today, however, the exact origins are unknown, but probably related to the demolished church of the Celestines in Faenza. It was attributed to Bertucci by all the artistic literature, beginning with Argnani who praises it as «the truthful drawing of the nude, the grace and the expression of the heads… the lavish draperies…and the ever so elegant background landscape». The work was also appreciated by Calzi, who exalted the figures of the four saints, located to the sides of the throne, recognising characteristics of the Venetian school in the painting. The figure of St. Anthony, according to Buscaroli, «with his extraordinarily humane air», derives «…from the type of young monk that Pinturicchio was so fond of, with the circular mophead…and the quiff on the forehead».

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