11 Paintings, scenes from the Bible, by The Old Masters, with footnotes # 39

Antonio Badile, VERONA 1518-1560

SAINT GEORGE AND THE DRAGON

Oil on canvas

104 1/8  by 59 in.; 264.3 by 149.7 cm.

Private Collection

Saint George (circa 275/281 – 23 April 303 AD) was a soldier in the Roman army who later became venerated as a Christian martyr. His parents were Christians of Greek background; his father Gerontius was a Roman army official from Cappadocia and his mother Polychronia was from Lydda, Syria Palaestina. Saint George became an officer in the Roman army in the Guard of Diocletian, who ordered his death for failing to recant his Christian faith.

In the fully developed Western version of the Saint George Legend, a dragon, or crocodile, makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of “Silene” (perhaps modern Cyrene in Libya or the city of Lydda in Palistine, depending on the source). Consequently, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time, to collect water. To do so, each day they offer the dragon at first a sheep, and if no sheep can be found, then a maiden is the best substitute for one. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happens to be the princess. The monarch begs for her life to be spared, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon, but then Saint George appears on his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the Cross, slays the dragon, and rescues the princess. The citizens abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, (1828–1882)

The Wedding of Saint George and Princess Sabra, c. 1857

Watercolor on paper

36.5 × 36.5 cm (14.4 × 14.4 in)

Tate Britain

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882) was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais. Rossetti was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement. His work also influenced the European Symbolists and was a major precursor of the Aesthetic movement.

Rossetti’s personal life was closely linked to his work, especially his relationships with his models and muses Elizabeth Siddal, Fanny Cornforth and Jane Morris. More

On 24 February 303, Diocletian issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods of the time. George objected, and approached the Emperor and ruler. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money, and slaves, but George never accepted. Recognizing the futility of his efforts and insisting on upholding his edict, Diocletian ordered that George be executed for his refusal. Before the execution, George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. Mor

Antonio Badile (c. 1518 – 1560) was an Italian painter from Verona. He is the grandson of the Veronese 15th century painter Giovanni Badile. He trained with his uncle Francesco Badile. He was the first master of Paolo Veronese, and later his father-in-law. Veronese later moved to train with Giovanni Francesco Caroto. Badile also trained Giovanni Battista Zelotti. Badile is described as continuing the “retardataire” tradition of Giovanni Francesco Caroto well past the 1540s. His masterpiece is the altarpiece for Santi Nazaro e Celso of a Madonna and Saints (1540); another notable work is his Resurrection of Lazarus for the chapel of Santa Croce in the church of San Bernardino. More Antonio Badile

Unknown

The ‘De Grey’ Hours, c. 1390

Vellum

National Library of Wales

A medieval Book of Hours probably written for the De Grey family of Ruthin c.1390

The book of hours is a Christian devotional book popular in the Middle Ages. It is the most common type of surviving medieval illuminated manuscript. Like every manuscript, each book of hours is unique in one way or another, but most contain a similar collection of texts, prayers and psalms, often with appropriate decorations, for Christian devotion. Illumination or decoration is minimal in many examples, often restricted to decorated capital letters at the start of psalms and other prayers, but books made for wealthy patrons may be extremely lavish, with full-page miniatures.

Tens of thousands of books of hours have survived to the present day, in libraries and private collections throughout the world.

The typical book of hours is an abbreviated form of the breviary which contained the Divine Office recited in monasteries. It was developed for lay people who wished to incorporate elements of monasticism into their devotional life. Reciting the hours typically centered upon the reading of a number of psalms and other prayers. More The book of hours

Bernat Martorell, (1390–1452)

Saint George and the Dragon, 1434/35

Tempera on panel

155.6 x 98.1 cm (61 1/4 x 38 5/8 in.)

Art Institute of Chicago

In the second quarter of the 15th century, Bernat Martorell was the leading painter of Barcelona. Saint George was the patron saint of Catalonia, the capital of Catalonia in northeastern Spain, and Martorell’s vivid painting probably once formed the center of the altarpiece of the chapel of the Catalan government in its palace in Barcelona. The central image would have been flanked by smaller narrative panels, now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris; they illustrate the martyrdom of the saint in gruesome detail. More

Bernat Martorell (1390 died 1452 in Barcelona) was a Catalan painter. He is considered to be the most important artist of the International Gothic style in Catalonia. Little is known of his life prior to 1427. The style of Martorell is contrastingly different from the Catalunyan Gothic painters who preceded. Martorell was familiar with contemporary Flemish painting, however, the documented part of his biography does not explain this influence. On the other hand, stylistic parallels have been drawn between Martorell and contemporary Italian artists.

One of the earliest surviving works of Martorell, Saint George Killing the Dragon (above), depicting Bernat Martorell’s patron saint, was created in the early 1430s and already demonstrates the complexity of composition, richness of colors and fine details which could only been executed by a fully trained artist. These details were not present in Catalan art before Martorell.

In 1437, Bernat Martorell got a commission to create an altarpiece for the church in Púbol. The altarpiece devoted to Saint Peter, is currently in Museu d’Art de Girona and is the only directly documented piece produced by the artist. More Bernat Martorell

Paolo Veronese, (1528–1588)

Martyrdom of Saint George, circa 1564

Oil on canvas

Height: 426 cm (167.7 in). Width: 305 cm (120.1 in).

San Giorgio in Braida, Verona

Paolo Caliari, known as Paolo Veronese (1528 – 19 April 1588) was an Italian Renaissance painter based in Venice, most famous for large history paintings of both religious and mythological subjects, such as The Wedding at Cana and The Feast in the House of Levi. With Titian, who was at least a generation older, and Tintoretto, ten years older, he was one of the “great trio that dominated Venetian painting of the cinquecento” or 16th-century late Renaissance. Veronese is known as a supreme colorist, and after an early period with Mannerist influence turned to a more naturalist style influenced by Titian.

His most famous works are elaborate narrative cycles, executed in a dramatic and colorful style, full of majestic architectural settings and glittering pageantry. His large paintings of biblical feasts, crowded with figures, painted for the refectories of monasteries in Venice and Verona are especially famous, and he was also the leading Venetian painter of ceilings. Most of these works remain in situ, or at least in Venice, and his representation in most museums is mainly composed of smaller works such as portraits that do not always show him at his best or most typical.

He has always been appreciated for “the chromatic brilliance of his palette, the splendor and sensibility of his brushwork, the aristocratic elegance of his figures, and the magnificence of his spectacle”, but his work has been felt “not to permit expression of the profound, the human, or the sublime”, and of the “great trio” he has often been the least appreciated by modern criticism. Nonetheless, “many of the greatest artists … may be counted among his admirers, including Rubens, Watteau, Tiepolo, Delacroix and Renoir”. More

Master of the Madonna del Ponterosso, possibly identifiable as Giovanni di Papino Calderini

ACTIVE IN AROUND FLORENCE IN THE LATE 15TH AND EARLY 16TH CENTURY

THE MADONNA AND CHILD WITH SAINTS JOHN THE BAPTIST AND ANTHONY ABATE AND TWO ANGELS

Oil on panel, a tondo

Diameter: 35 5/8  in.; 90.5 cm.

Private Collection

John the Baptist (sometimes called John in the Wilderness) was the subject of at least eight paintings by the Italian Baroque artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610).

The story of John the Baptist is told in the Gospels. John was the cousin of Jesus, and his calling was to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. He lived in the wilderness of Judea between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, “his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leather girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.” He baptised Jesus in the Jordan, and was eventually killed by Herod Antipas when he called upon the king to reform his evil ways. More

Saint Anthony the Abbot, also known as Saint Anthony the Great. Although he is often overshadowed by similarly named Saint Anthony of Padua, this Egyptian saint is particularly important throughout southern Italy, and is the patron saint of butchers, domestic animals, basketmakers,and gravediggers; he also protects against skin diseases, especially shingles known as “Fuoco di Sant’Antonio” (Fire of Saint Anthony) in Italy. Saint Anthony the Abbot was a hermit who renounced his worldly possessions to follow Jesus and performed miracles throughout his life. He is considered the first to live a truly monastic lifestyle and was repeatedly tempted by the devil, persevering through prayer. This aspect of the saint’s life is often portrayed in images of him with the devil at his feet. – See more Saint Anthony the Abbot

 

Follower of Jan van Scorel

CALVARY WITH THE THREE CROSSES

oil on oak panel

137 x 118.1 cm.; 54 x 46 1/2  in.

Private Collection

A copy after the central panel of the triptych by Jan van Scorel and Studio, of circa 1535, in the Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht, Netherlands.

Jan van Scorel (1495 – 6 December 1562) was a Dutch painter, who played a leading role in introducing aspects of Italian Renaissance painting into Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting. Van Scorel was one of the early painters of the Romanist style who had spent a number of years in Italy, where he thoroughly absorbed the Italian style of painting. His trip to Italy coincided with the brief reign of the only Dutch pope in history, Adrian VI in 1522-23. The pope made him a court painter and superintendent of his collection of antiquities. His stay in Italy lasted from 1518 to 1524. He also visited Nuremberg, Venice and Jerusalem. Venetian art had an important impact on the development of his style.

He differed from most Romanists in that he was a native of the northern Netherlands and not of Flanders and that he remained most of his life in the northern Netherlands. He settled permanently in Utrecht in 1530 and established a large workshop on the Italian model. The workshop mainly produced altarpieces, many of which were destroyed in the Reformation iconoclasm in the years just after his death. He also held clerical appointments. This did not stop him from having a long-time relationship with a mistress who may have modelled for some of his female figure. More Jan van Scorel

Mattia Preti, TAVERNA, CALABRIA 1613 – 1699 VALLETTA, MALTA

DANIEL INTERPRETING NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S DREAM

Oil on canvas

60 1/4  by 77 1/8  in.; 153 by 196 cm.

Private Collection

This large canvas is Preti’s only known treatment of the subject, which is taken from the Old Testament book of Daniel 2:1-49. The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar called upon magicians, astrologers, and sorcerers to decipher his troubled dreams, and demanded that they relate the content of the dream before attempting an interpretation, so as to prove their clairvoyant abilities. When they failed to deliver on this request, the king sentenced them and the other wise men of Babylon to death. Daniel, after appealing to his God for aid, successfully relayed the topic of the dream and subsequently interpreted it. Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed of a magnificent statue (shown here in mid-tones to make explicit its ephemerality), its head “made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.” In the dream a rock struck the statue and broke it into innumerable pieces, and the rock itself grew into a mountain that filled the earth. More Daniel

Mattia Preti (24 February 1613 – 3 January 1699) was an Italian Baroque artist who worked in Italy and Malta. He was also a member of the Order of Saint John. Born in the small town of Taverna in Calabria, Preti was called Il Cavalier Calabrese (the Calabrian Knight) after he was accepted into the Order of St. John (Knights of Malta) in 1660. His early apprenticeship is said to have been with the “Caravaggist” Giovanni Battista Caracciolo, which may account for his lifelong interest in the style of Caravaggio.

Before 1630, Preti joined his brother Gregorio in Rome, where he became familiar with the techniques of Caravaggio and his school as well as with the work of Guercino, Rubens, Guido Reni, and Giovanni Lanfranco. In Rome, he painted fresco cycles in the churches of Sant’Andrea della Valle and San Carlo ai Catinari. Between 1644 and 1646, he may have spent time in Venice, but remained based in Rome until 1653, returning later in 1660-61. He painted frescoes, and participated in the fresco decoration of the Palazzo Pamphilj in Valmontone.

Mattia Preti (1613–1699)

Doubting Thomas, c. 656/1660

Oil on canvas

187 x 145.5 cm 

Kunsthistorisches Museum,  Vienna, Austria

During most of 1653-1660, he worked in Naples, where he was influenced by another major painter of his era, Luca Giordano. One of Preti’s masterpieces were a series of large frescoes, ex-votos of the plague, depicting the Virgin or saints delivering people from the plague. The bozzetto of the Virgin with the baby Jesus looming over the dying. 

Having been made a Knight of Grace in the Order of St John, he visited the order’s headquarters in Malta in 1659 and spent most of the remainder of his life there. Preti was fortunate to enjoy a long career and have a considerable artistic output. His paintings, representative of the exuberant late Baroque style, are held by many great museums, including important collections in Naples, Valletta, and in his hometown of Taverna. More Mattia Preti 

A doubting Thomas is a skeptic who refuses to believe without direct personal experience—a reference to the Apostle Thomas, who refused to believe that the resurrected Jesus had appeared to the ten other apostles, until he could see and feel the wounds received by Jesus on the cross.

In art, the episode (formally called the Incredulity of Thomas) has been frequently depicted since at least the 5th century, with its depiction reflecting a range of theological interpretations. More doubting Thomas

Jacopo Amigoni, NAPLES 1682 – 1752 MADRID

CLORINDA RESCUING OLINDO AND SOPHRONIA

Oil on canvas

49 1/2  by 61 1/2  in.; 125.7 by 156.2 cm.

Private Collection

The present canvas corresponds with paintings executed by Amigoni in the period following his return to Venice from Great Britain in 1739.

Amigoni takes his subject from Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata, an epic poem completed in 1575 Tasso’s poem recounts tales from the first crusade, culminating in Godfrey de Bouillon’s liberation of Jerusalem in 1099.  The episode selected by the artist is an account from Book II, in which a female mercenary, Clorinda, dramatically rescues two Christian lovers from burning at the stake. In the painting we see Sophronia, a Christian accused of desecrating an Islamic image, sentenced to death by the Saracens and lashed to the stake with her lover, Olindo, who has chosen to die by her side. A Saracen, poised to ignite the pyre, is interrupted by the arrival of the Persian Clorinda, in full armour, who rides in on a white stallion, to the evident surprise of the Saracen king at left. More Clorinda

Jacopo Amigoni (1682–1752), also named Giacomo Amiconi, was an Italian painter of the late-Baroque or Rococo period, who began his career in Venice, but traveled and was prolific throughout Europe.

He was born in Naples or Venice. Amigoni initially painted both mythological and religious scenes; but as the panoply of his patrons expanded northward, he began producing many parlour works depicting gods in sensuous languor or games.

In 1747 he left Italy and established himself in Madrid. There he became court painter to Ferdinand VI of Spain and director of the Royal Academy of Saint Fernando. He died in Madrid. More Jacopo Amigoni

Alexander Altmann (Russian, 1885-1950)

Three Orthodox Priests

Oil on canvas

43 x 94.5 cm (17 x 37 1/4 in.)

Private Collection

Alexander Altmann, born in Sobolevka ( Ukraine ) in 1885 and died in Nemours (France) in 1934 , is a painter of Ukraine of the School of Paris , known for his painting “The flood of Paris.”

Alexandre Altmann studied at the Fine Arts of Odessa . He left Odessa in 1905 and, on foot, to Paris where he finds a studio in La Ruche .

He became acquainted with Emile Schuffeneckers . In 1910 Altmann knows notoriety after the exhibition of his painting “The flood of Paris.” More Alexander Altmann

Acknowledgement: Sotheby’s

Images are copyright of their respective owners, assignees or others

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Author: zaidangallery

I search Art History for Beautiful works that may, or may not, have a secondary or unexpected story to tell. I then write short summaries that grow from my research. Art work is so much more when its secrets are exposed

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