Crucifix - Tuscan wood carving - second half XV century - School of
Giuliano da Sangallo (1445-1516).
Madonna seated on a throne
Tempera on wood showing the enthroned Madonna and Child within a painted Renaissance frame in the style of
At the sides are the figures of St. John the Baptist and St. Jerome (dressed in the red robes of a Cardinal with at his feet his emblem of a
lion's head). There is also a kneeling figure, probably the Blessed Giovanni Colombini da Siena who founded in 1365 at Cittą di Castello the convent of the
On the "predella" divided into three rectangles are represented from the
left: St. Jerome taking the thorn out of the lion's foot - a "Nativity" and the penitent
St. Jerome before the Crucifix. This work is dated 1492 and is signed by a certain Giovanni Battista di Cittą di Castello. It comes from the Church of
St. Jerome in the Convent of the Gesuati and became the property of the local Seminary when the Order was suppressed in 1653.
Madonna with the child and the infant St.John
Tempera on wood - second half XV century (c. 1486). Painted by Bernardino di Betto - better know as
Pinturicchio (Perugia 1454 - Siena 1513).
This small panel conveys in an artistic language both formal and restrained the whole story of Christianity from its very beginning and with profound theological significance.
The three figures shine with mystic luminosity against the background of pastoral landscape. The infant Christ is shown standing on his Mother's knee; Mary herself, Mother and Mediator, holds up His hand in benediction; the reverent figure of St. John the Baptist carries a scroll bearing the legend "Ecce Agnus Dei (Behold the Lamb of God) and, clutching the Holy Bible to his breast, indicates the Christ Child as the Messiah foretold in the
Two panels painted in oils attributed to Giulio Romano (Rome 1492 or 1499 - Mantua 1546) and executed during the first part of XVI century. They bear the following inscriptions: "Behold the promised King of the people" "Listen to him therefore and adore him".
The curved outline of the panels suggests that they were intended to form part of an altar-piece in a vaulted
Christ in glory - Rosso Fiorentino (1495 - 1540)
Oil on wood by Giovanni di Jacopo di Gasparre - known as Rosso Fiorentino (Firenze 1495- Fontanbleau 1540)
Mistakenly called "The Transfiguration of Christ" it in fact contains none of the elements pertaining to that event as described in the Gospels - It was painted between 1528 and 1530 and, according to Vasari, has a curious history. While the artist was working on it the roof fell in, damaging the picture and causing him to develop a high fever.
He took refuge at San Sepolcro, and being bound by his contract to complete the work, "in a fury he depicted the figure of Christ ascending heavenwards flanked by four worshippers, with below them a group of people including moors, gypsies and some of the strangest beings in the world. All these figures - though perfectly executed form a composition far removed from the expectations of those who had commissioned the picture" (Vasari: "Le vite de' pił eccellenti architetti, pittori et scultori Italiani" FI 1906 pp.165-166).
It is indeed surprising that this simplistic interpretation of a famous work should be given by such a renowned critic and artist as Vasari. A more likely explanation of its originality and adherence to the Gospel text is to be found in the personality of the painter. His experience in Rome and Florence and the influence of Pomarancio and Raphael combined to induce him towards innovation and a profound examination of the accepted pictorial practices of his time.
The critical assessment by Vasari is not convincing because it does not reflect the depth and ardour of this unusual composition; fruit of long and serious deliberation....
The commissioners, the "Compagnia del Corpus Domini" had stipulated "that the artist should depict the Risen Christ in Glory with the figures of our Lady, St. Anne, St. Mary Magdalen and St. Mary Amptiana (Egyptian); below them, on the said panel, several different figures to denote and represent the people" (Contract for a painting on wood from Corpus Domini of Cittą di Castello. Archives of Religious Corporations in State Archive of Florence)
Only for the upper portion of the panel does the contract contain specific instruction with regard to details and these have been punctiliously observed by the painter, (Most Holy Mary and St. Anne on the right of Christ, the redeemed Magdalen and Egyptian Mary on the left); for the lower section the injunction was to show a representation of the people ("various different figures.... representing the people")
This request has been amply honoured, even though in such an original way as to create a work of striking modernity.
This originality and modernity marries happily with the Gospel message: Christ has made his Saints participants in his glory and promises an equal glory to the poor and ignorant to whom his teaching is most directly addressed (Parronchi "Metedo e scienza: operativitą e ricerca nel restauro" Firenze 1980 pp.96-99).
Among the people are a negro, a woman holding the hand of a child (or perhaps dwarf), a soldier, a moustached gypsy, just visible behind the distaff of the woman holding the child, a poultry seller, a female figure with a child in her arms (back view) a priest and finally, to complete the scene, a young man in profile.
Critics have pointed out the influence of Raphael, especially in the woman with the distaff in her hand and in the figures on either side of Christ.
The octagonal shape of the panel is due to a thoughtless arbitrary modification carried out in 1685 without the knowledge of the Canons, who at once initiated legal proceedings against the perpetrators.
Rosso Fiorentino's work has undergone extensive restoration, completed in 1982, by the Laboratori della Fortezza da Basso dell'Opificio delle Pietre Dure of Florence.
In 1983 it was placed in the Chapel of the Most Holy Sacrament, called the "great Chapel" (Cappellone) of the Cathedral where it had been displayed ever since 1685.
Two vases in marble 1521.
Both vases carry a "bas relief" and an inscription" Julius Vitelli electus" and were used as
Baptismal founts. One comes from Pieve de' Saddi and the other from the Church of St.