The J. Paul Getty Museum

Saint Luke

Object Details

Title:

Saint Luke

Artist/Maker:

Simone Martini (Italian (Sienese), about 1284 - 1344)

Culture:

Italian

Place:

Siena, Tuscany, Italy (Place Created)

Date:

1330s

Medium:

Tempera and gold leaf on panel

Object Number:

82.PB.72

Dimensions:

Panel: 67.5 × 48.3 × 3.8 cm (26 9/16 × 19 × 1 1/2 in.)

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Object Description

Saint Luke, one of the four evangelists, is shown in the act of writing his Gospel. His halo is formed of intricately wrought punches, made by lightly tapping metal punching tools onto a background laid with gold leaf. His serene face is rendered in minute detail, with each hair of his beard carefully described. The modelling in the folds of his purple cloak, achieved through subtle gradations of pigments applied with fine brushstrokes, results in a rhythmic elegance. Such features contribute to the overall demeanor of refinement that is characteristic of Simone’s figures. Another feature typical of the artist is the narrative flair with which he depicted Saint Luke’s traditional attribute, the winged ox, which appears in miniature form acting as proud custodian of the black inkpot. The engaged frame, gilded and painted with blue and red quatrefoils, is original.

The Saint Luke panel was one section of a five-part, portable polyptych which was probably originally made for the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, the seat of the city government. The other four panels from the ensemble are today divided between New York and Madrid: Saint Ansanus and Madonna and Child in the Robert Lehman Collection, Saint Andrew in the collection of European Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Saint Peter in Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza. Of these, the Getty panel alone retains its original back and sides, which were painted to resemble porphyry, a costly purple stone. The Saint Luke panel bears no marks from hinges or traces of other hardware which might offer clues about how this panel may have been joined to the others. As such, questions remain as to how they were originally assembled and displayed.

Provenance
Provenance
before 1914

E. Bonesi (Paris, France), sold to Galeries Heilbronner.

- mid-1920s

Galeries Heilbronner (Paris, France), sold to Erich Lederer, mid-1920s.

mid-1920s - 1939

Erich Lederer, 1896 - 1985 (Vienna, Austria), at the family residence of Erich Lederer's parents, August Lederer (1857 - 1936) and Serena Lederer (1867 - 1943), Bartensteingasse 8; confiscated by the Gestapo at the direction of the Zentralstelle für Denkmalschutz, 1939.

1939 - 1945

In the possession of the Nazis, stored at Zentraldepot at Neue Burg, Vienna; moved to Reichsbank, Vienna (Austrian National Bank), March 30, 1942; evacuated to the salt mines at Altaussee, Oct. 7, 1943; recovered by the US Forces (80th Infantry Division; Task Force Pearson), May 8, 1945.

1945 - 1947

In custody of the Allied Forces (salt mines at Altaussee, Austria), released to the Republic of Austria, by December 1, 1947.

1947 - 1950

Austrian government, restituted to Erich Lederer in exchange for a donation of several works of art from his family's collection to the Republic of Austria, export permit granted June 28, 1950.

1950 - 1982

Erich Lederer, 1896 - 1985 (Geneva, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1982.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Byzantium and the West (September 14 to December 5, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 14 to December 5, 2004
Bibliography
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