The J. Paul Getty Museum

Polyptych with Saint James Major, Madonna and Child, and Saints

Object Details

Title:

Polyptych with Saint James Major, Madonna and Child, and Saints

Artist/Maker:

Bartolomeo Vivarini (Italian (Venetian), about 1432 - 1499)

Culture:

Italian

Date:

1490

Medium:

Tempera and gold leaf on panel

Object Number:

71.PB.30

Dimensions:

Framed [outer dim]: 280 × 214.9 cm (110 1/4 × 84 5/8 in.)

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Object Description

Bartolomeo Vivarini's paintings were noted for their use of bright, dissonant colors and figures that resemble sculptures or wood carvings. This polyptych, made for a parish church dedicated to Saint James the Greater in northern Italy, depicts Saint James in the center, holding a pilgrim's staff with the symbolic scallop shell and a book.

At the lower left, Saint John the Baptist wears his customary tunic of animal skins and a pale gray-green mantle and stands in a rocky setting along the river Jordan, unlike the other figures who stand before a marble ledge. To his left stands Saint John the Evangelist.

At the lower right, Saint Bartholomew holds a book and a knife, the symbol of his martyrdom, and an elderly Saint Peter holds the keys to the kingdom of heaven.

In the central panel of the upper tier, the Virgin holds the Christ Child, who raises his right arm in blessing. At the top left, Saint Catherine of Alexandria holds a broken wheel, her symbol of martyrdom, and Saint Ursula clasps two rods with banners. On the Virgin's left, Saint Apollonia holds a book and a pincer with a tooth, referring to the instruments of her martyrdom, and Saint Lucy holds an oil lamp that alludes to the significance of her name, saint of light.

Provenance
Provenance
1490 - 1702

San Giacomo (Vallalta, Italy)
Source: Rossi, Francesco. "Pittura a Bergamo intorno al 1500. Ricostituzione di un partimonio disperso." Atti dell'Ateneo di Scienze, Lettere ed Arte 41 (May 1979), pp. 84-85, 93, no. 44.

- 1784

Giacomo Caniana (possibly Alzano, Italy)
Source: Rossi, Francesco. "Pittura a Bergamo intorno al 1500. Ricostituzione di un partimonio disperso." Atti dell'Ateneo di Scienze, Lettere ed Arte 41 (May 1979), pp. 84-85, 93, no. 44.

by 1857 -

Possibly Don Clemente and S. Martino Maggiore (Alzano Lombardo, Italy)
Source: Otto Mündler, Diaries. MS in the Library of the National Gallery (London: May 21, 22, 1857), p. 87; also reproduced in The Walpole Society 51 (1985), p. 154.

1858 -

Giuseppe Baslini (Milan, Italy)
Source: Eastlake, Charles L. Unpublished notebooks. (London: Library of the National Gallery, 1858), p. 19.

-

Vito Enei (Rome, Italy)
Source: Borenius, Tancred, ed. A History of Painting in North Italy. 3 vols. (London: John Murray, 1912), vol. 1, pp. 47-48n1.

before 1871 -

Valentinis (Rome, Italy)
Source: Borenius, Tancred, ed. A History of Painting in North Italy. 3 vols. (London: John Murray, 1912), vol. 1, pp. 47-48n1.

before 1871 - before 1914
before 1914 - 1929

Joseph Spiridon [sold, Spiridon sale, Cassirer and Helbig, Berlin, May 31, 1929, lot 67.]

-

Torlonia (Rome, Italy)

- 1955

Count Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi, Italian, 1878 - 1955 (Florence, Italy; Rome, Italy), by inheritance within the Contini-Bonacossi family.

1955 - 1971

Contini-Bonacossi Family (Florence, Italy; Rome, Italy), sold to Spencer A. Samuels & Company, Ltd., 1971.

1971

Spencer A. Samuels & Company, Ltd. (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1971.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
The J. Paul Getty Collection (June 29 to September 3, 1972)
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis), June 29 to September 3, 1972
Bibliography
Bibliography

Mündler, Otto. Diaries. MS in the Library of the National Gallery (London: May 21, 22, 1857), p. 87.

Eastlake, Charles L. Unpublished notebooks (London: Library of the National Gallery, 1858), p. 19.

Borenius, Tancred, ed. A History of Painting in North Italy. 3 vols. (London: John Murray, 1912), vol. 1, pp. 47-48n1.

Venturi, Adolfo. Storia dell'Arte Italiana. Vol. 7, La Pittura del Quattrocento Parte III (Milan: Editore Libraio Della Real Casa, 1914), p. 334.

Marle, Raimond van. "Die Sammlung Joseph Spiridon." Der Cicerone 21, no. 7 (1929), pp. 186-87, fig. 12.

Cassirer, Paul, and Hugo Helbing. Die Sammlung Joseph Spiridon Paris (Berlin: 1929), unpaginated, no. 67, ill.

Marle, Raimond van. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. 19 vols. (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1923-38), vol. 18 (1936), p. 130.

Berenson, Bernard. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: A List of the Principal Artists and Their Works with an Index of Places: Venetian School. 2 vols. (London: Phaidon Press, 1957), vol. 1, p. 201.

Pallucchini, Rodolfo. I Vivarini (Venice: Neri Pozza Editore, 1962), p. 130, no. 215.

Sweeny, Barbara. John G. Johnson Collection. Catalogue of Italian Paintings (Philadelphia: 1966), pp. 41-42.

Chiarini, Marco. "Vivarini." In Encyclopedia of World Art (New York and London: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1967), vol. 14, p. 812.

The J. Paul Getty Collection, exh. cat. (Minneapolis: Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1972), unpaginated, no. 52, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Catalogue of the Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1972), pp. 20-21, no. 24.

Gendel, Milton. "Italy." Art News 71 (Summer 1972), p. 23, ill.

Lecoq, A. M. "L'art de la signature, II: Cadre et rebord." Revue de l'Art (1974), p. 18, fig. 7.

Fredericksen, Burton B., ed. The J. Paul Getty Museum: Greek and Roman Antiquities, Western European Paintings, French Decorative Arts of the Eighteenth Century (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975), pp. 69, 82, ill.

Frel, Jiri, Burton Fredericksen, and Gillian Wilson. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1976), p. 62.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1976), p. 62.

Phaidon Encyclopedia of Art and Artists (London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1978), p. 684.

Fredericksen, Burton B., Jiří Frel, and Gillian Wilson. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 4th ed. Sandra Morgan, ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978), pp. 78, 80.

Rossi, Francesco. "Pittura a Bergamo intorno al 1500. Ricostituzione di un partimonio disperso." Atti dell'Ateneo di Scienze, Lettere ed Arte 41 (May 1979), pp. 84-85, 93, no. 44.

Fredericksen, Burton B., Jiří Frel, and Gillian Wilson. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 5th ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980), p. 66.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980), unpaginated, no. 5, ill.

Steer, John. Alvise Viviarini: His Art and Influence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), p. 4n5.

Dowd, Carol Togneri, ed. "The Travel Diaries of Otto Mündler: 1855-1858." The Walpole Society 51 (London: W.S. Maney and Son Limited, 1985), p. 154.

Natale, Mauro. "La pittura in Lombardia nel secondo Quattrocento." In La Pittura in Italia: Il Quattrocento. Federico Zeri, ed., 2 vols. (Milan: Electa, 1987), vol. 1, p. 94.

Thiébaut, Dominique. Ajaccio, musée Fesch: Les Primitifs italiens (Paris: Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1987), p. 189, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Rev. ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1988), unpaginated, no. 4, ill.

Lucco, Mauro, ed. La pittura nel veneto: Il Quattrocento. 2 vols. (Milan: Electa, 1990), vol. 2, p. 457.

Carr, Dawson W., and Mark Leonard. Looking at Paintings: A Guide to Technical Terms (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, with British Museum Press, 1992), p. 9, ill.

Humfrey, Peter. "Bartolomeo Vivarini's 'Saint James' Polyptych and Its Provenance." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 22 (1994), pp. 11-20.

Humfrey, Peter. Painting in Renaissance Venice (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995), pp. 89, 91, fig. 66.

Colle, Enrico, and Alessandro Lazzeri. Villa Vittoria: da residenza signorile a Palazzo dei Congressi di Firenze (Florence: Centro internazionale congressi Firenze, 1995), unpaginated, ill.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 132, ill.

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Steer, Susan Ruth. "'Ell maistro dell anchona': The Venetian Altarpieces of Bartolomeo Vivarini and their Commissioners." PhD diss. (University of Bristol, 2003), p. 257.

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