TUSCANY - Florence
FILE : S. Croce C. Museum 1
TITLE : St. Fabiano (?) Pope

LOCATION: Firenze S. Croce C. - Museo

DIMENSIONS: rectangular panel cm.119 X 90

PROVENANCE: from the two-lancet window with Saints in the niches of S. Croce Church [end XII cent.] ( see Firenze S. Croce Church 21)

CHRONOLOGY: 1480 -90

AUTHOR: cartoon: Alessio Baldovinetti (attribution)- execution: Della Scarperia(?) workshop


SUBJECT/S : Fragment of saint with papal mitre in a niche

CRITICAL NOTES: The panel has been indicated by Salmi who assigns it to Baldovinetti’s followers for its vigorous structure and the full volume of the emerging figure ‘also for the bright green of his cope with deep blue of the inner side and a yellow border‘.

In particular, Salmi draws it near the late Annunciation of Inghirami Chapel in the duomo of Prato ( see Prato Museo dell’Opera 1), with its Angel annunciating, similar to St. Fabiano for their monumentality. A comparison with the other scattered panel, the tondo with the Eternal Father, leads Salmi to attribute both the panels to the same artist, dating them to the ninth decade of the ‘400. Attribution picked up again by Becherucci and the following critics. Del Nunzio, focusing her studies on the window with the canopy motif, notes that the architecture, unlike the niche of the St. Andrew in Cappella Pazzi (see Firenze S. Croce C., Cappella Pazzi 2), recalls canopies. The refined way the space is represented ‘focuses not more only on the central focus, but it is also opened towards the diagonal vectors, in a tripartition of the directionalities that seem almost to precede some of the effects of the angular perspective.

The decoration register of the border is a series of small bunches of flowers, light blue and gold yellow buds alternated to small bunches of leaves. In her book on the stained glass windows of the Pisa Cathedral, Burnam makes a careful catalogue of the borders both of the cathedral’s windows in Pisa and, more in general, of the Tuscans. She assigns that register to the series she names ‘E type’ , present not only in Pisa and in S. Croce, but also in various stained glass windows of S. Maria del Fiore. Therefore, she traces that series back to the presence of Leonardo di Bartolomeo called Lastra in the yard of both the cathedrals, in Pisa and in Firenze. Bartolomeo was the apprentice of Francesco di Giovanni named the Lastra, and so taking on his appellation of Lastra. In 1458 he was restoring S. Maria del Fiore windows together with Francesco di Giovanni, that in the meanwhile became his working partner, and with Bernardo di Francesco. A demanding work for which he obtained his own workshop by the Opera di S. Maria del Fiore.

The acknowledgement of the collaboration among the personalities of Bernardo di Francesco, Francesco di Giovanni named Lastra and Leonardo di Bartolomeo Della Scarperia in S. Maria del Fiore, knotty attribution still to be solved out, constitutes not only a critic investigation for the S. Maria del Fiore yard, but it also would allow the acknowledgement of Della Scarperia collaboration in his long partnership with Baldovinetti .

CONDITIONS: the bottom of the panel has been cut off and the figure has been reduced to half its length. During the dismantling, in order to protect the stained glass windows from any probable damage at the outburst of the second world war (1940), the panel, together with the other windows, underwent a conservative restoration at the end of the war, by the Tolleri glasswork of Florence. A drastic cleaning was carried out for the grisaille detachment already in course, due to the layers of dirt. Various lead framings at the joints.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: See Bibl. A. Baldovinetti

PHOTOGRAFIC REF.: Foto Nicolň Orsi Battaglini, Firenze

EDITOR: Caterina Pirina January 2001