The Crucifixion with Saints Anthony Abbot, Catherine, Jerome, James and Two Donors (Primary Title)
The Crucifixion with Saints and Donors (Former Title)

Altichiero, Italian, Veronese, 1330 - before 1393 (Artist)

ca. 1384–93
tempera on wood
Other (central panel): 12 3/4 × 8 3/4 in. (32.39 × 22.23 cm)
Other (each wing): 12 1/4 × 3 3/4 in. (31.12 × 9.53 cm)

This triptych (three panels hinged together) is one of only two known panel paintings by Altichiero Altichieri, both executed during his final years in Verona. The confident handling of paint, as well as the dramatic approach to faces and figures, demonstrates why Altichiero was one of the foremost northern Italian artists of the late 14th century. Although the classicism yet to dominate Italian art is not readily apparent, it is important to note the resemblance of the format to an ancient triumphal arch. This reference denoted the artist’s own cultural sophistication and Christ’s “triumph” over death.

In the center panel, the Virgin Mary and St. John the Evangelist mourn the crucified Christ. The skull at the foot of the cross refers to Golgotha, “the place of the skull.” According to Christian tradition, Adam, whose sin Christ’s sacrifice redeemed, was buried there.

On the side panels are St. Anthony Abbot (upper left) identified by his monk’s cloak and cross, and St. Jerome, one of the four Church Fathers (upper right), wearing a cardinal’s hat and holding a miniature church. Below them, St. Catherine was her martyr’s wheel and St. James with his pilgrim’s staff accompany the man and woman (represented kneeling in prayer) who commissioned the painting. A conservation study has revealed that the original donors’ portraits were deliberately repainted, possibly when the triptych changed ownership soon after it was commissioned. The later paint has been removed and the original portraits (slightly damaged) are visible once again.

Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund
LOOK HERE: Dazzle, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, November 2, 2005 -January 29, 2006
Collection of Crown Prince Clemens [1902-1990], Bavaria. Collection of the Royal Family of Wittelsbach, Bavaria. (Newhouse Galleries, New York) by 1959; Purchased by Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), Richmond, Virginia in January of 1959. [1]

[1] Accessioned January 21, 1959.

Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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