The Chiarito Tabernacle

Object Details


The Chiarito Tabernacle


Pacino di Bonaguida (Italian (Florentine), active about 1303 - about 1347)




Florence, Tuscany, Italy (Place created)




Gilded gesso and tempera on panel


Framed [outer dim]: 101.3 x 113.5 cm (39 7/8 x 44 11/16 in.)

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This three-part altarpiece depicts the visionary experiences of the layman Chiarito del Voglia, who commissioned it in the 1340s. The central panel--executed in gilded gesso relief and showing the apostles receiving communion through narrow tubes emanating from Christ's navel--is most unusual in subject matter and medium.

The left wing displays scenes from Christ's Passion, the events leading up to his Crucifixion. In an unusual addition, three scenes below the main panel feature the bearded donor Chiarito participating in the Mass. In the central scene, he participates in the communion of the Apostles shown above by means of a tube that extends down to his mouth.

On the right wing in the bottom panel, Chiarito, seen standing alone, listens to a monk preaching to an audience. His powerful vision is made manifest in the scene above. He imagines the blood of Christ flowing down from the Trinity, shown in the top panel, to bathe the crowd below. Diagonal lines on the pulpit direct the viewer's eyes to the flowing blood.

1340s - about 1343

Chiarito del Voglia (Florence, Italy), commissioned from the artist, 1340s; donated to the convent of Santa Maria Regina Coeli, about 1343.

about 1343 - probably by 1787

Convent of Santa Maria Regina Coeli (Florence, Italy), probably moved from the convent of Santa Maria Regina Coeli when the nuns moved to the convent of San Domenico del Maglio, by 1787.

probably by 1787 - probably still in 1865

Probably Convent of San Domenico del Maglio (Florence, Italy), probably moved when the nuns of San Domenico del Maglio moved to the villa "il Sodo" (north of Florence) in 1865.

1878 - 1918

Stefano Bardini, 1836 - 1922 (Florence, Italy) [sold, Bardini sale, American Art Association, New York, April 25, 1918, lot 467, to Vladimir G. Simkhovitch.]

1918 - 1944

Professor Vladimir G. Simkhovitch (New York, New York), sold to Wildenstein & Co., 1944.

1944 - 1985

Wildenstein & Company (London, England; New York, New York; Paris, France), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1985.

Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300-1350 (November 13, 2012 to June 16, 2013) (Cat. 56)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 13, 2012 to February 10, 2013
  • Art Gallery of Ontario, (Toronto), March 16 to June 16, 2013

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