The J. Paul Getty Museum

Saint Luke

Object Details


Saint Luke


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




Siena, Tuscany, Italy (Place Created)


early 1330s ?


Tempera and gold leaf on panel

Object Number:



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

See more

See less

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The Saint Luke panel was one section of a five-part, portable polyptych which was probably originally made for the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, the seat of the city government.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.

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, Austrian, 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.
Note: appraised by Leo Planiscig, curator at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, in 1927, attributed to Lippo Vanni.

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

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

Lehman, Robert. The Philip Lehman Collection, New York: Paintings (Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 1928), under nos. XXXIII-XXXV.

Hendy, Philip. "'Ugolino Lorenzetti': Some Further Attributions." Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 55, no. 320 (November 1929), p. 232.

Venturi, Lionello. Pitture italiane in America (Milan: Ulrico Hoepli Editore, 1931), unpaginated, pl. LXXIX.

Berenson, Bernard. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: A List of the Principal Artists and Their Works with an Index of Places. 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1932), vol. 2, p. 590.

Exposition de la Collection Lehman de New York, exh. cat. 2nd ed. (Paris: Editions des Musées Nationaux, 1957), p. 47, under no. 57.

Berenson, Bernard. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: A List of the Principal Artists and Their Works with an Index of Places, Central Italian and North Italian Schools. 3 vols. (New York: Phaidon, 1968), vol. 1, p. 442.

Bologna, Ferdinando. I pittori alla corte Angioina di Napoli, 1266-1414 (Rome: The Rome University Press, 1969), p. 288.

Vertova, Luisa. "Lippo Vanni Versus Lippo Memmi." Burlington Magazine 112, no. 808 (July 1970), p. 441.

Boskovits, Miklòs. "A Dismembered Polyptych, Lippo Vanni and Simone Martini." Burlington Magazine 116, no. 856 (July 1974), pp. 368, 371-73, fig. 11.

"Simone, Martini." In Dizionario enciclopedico Bolaffi dei pittori e degli incisori italiani: dall'XI al XX secolo. 11 vols. (Turin: Giulio Bolaffi Editore, 1972-76), vol. 10 (1975), p. 325.

Volpe, Carlo. "Su Lippo Vanni da miniatore a pittore." Paragone 27, no. 321 (November 1976), p. 56.

Caleca, Antonino. "Tre politici di Lippo Memmi, un'ipotesi sul Barna e la bottega di Simone di Lippo, 2." Critica d'arte, n.s., 42, no. 151 (January-June 1977), p. 71.

Carter Southard, Edna. "The Frescoes in Siena's Palazzo Pubblico, 1289-1539: Studies in Imagery and Relations to other Communal Palaces in Tuscany." Ph.D. diss. (Indiana University, 1978), p. 161.

Padovani, Serena. "Restauri: Una tavola di Castiglione d'Orcia restaurata di recente." Prospettiva, no. 17 (April 1979), pp. 82-88.

Zeri, Federico, and Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: Sienese and Central Italian Schools; A Catalogue of the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1980), pp. 94-95.

Carli, Enzo. La pittura senese del Trecento (Milan: Electa, 1981), p. 233.

Eisenberg, Marvin. "The First Altar-piece for the 'Capella de'Signori' of the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena: '...tales figure sunt adeo pulcre...'" Burlington Magazine 123, no. 936 (March 1981), p. 147n50.

Christiansen, Keith. "Fourteenth-Century Italian Altarpieces." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Summer 1982), pp. 36-37, ill.

Lonjon, Marianne. "Quatre médaillons de Simone Martini. La reconstitution du retable de l'église San Francesco à Orvieto" La revue du Louvre 33, no. 3 (1983), p. 211n33.

Shugaar, Antony, ed. "Views and Reviews." Attenzione (January 1983), p. 23, ill.

Wilson, William. The Los Angeles Times Book of California Museums (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1984), p. 173.

Fredericksen, Burton B. "Recent Acquisitions of Paintings: The J. Paul Getty Museum." Burlington Magazine 127, no. 985 (April 1985), p. 261.

Simone Martini e "chompagni", exh. cat. (Siena: Pinacoteca Nazionale, with Centro Di, 1985), p. 60.

Hoving, Thomas. "Money and Masterpieces." Connoisseur 216, no. 899 (December 1986), p. 95.

Pope-Hennessy, John. Italian Paintings. Vol. 1, The Robert Lehman Collection (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Princeton University Press, 1987), pp. 18, 20-22, 277, under nos. 8, 9, fig. 11.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Rev. ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1988), unpaginated, no. 1, ill.

Christiansen, Keith, Laurence B. Kanter, and Carl Brandon Strehlke, eds. Painting in Renaissance Siena, 1420-1500 (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Harry N. Abrams, 1988), pp. 147-48.

Boskovits, Miklós. Frühe italienische Malerei (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1988), pp. 155, 200.

Martindale, Andrew. Simone Martini (Oxford: Phaidon, 1988), pp. 194-95, no. 17v, pls. 83-84, 87.

Leone de Castris, Pierluigi. Simone Martini: catalogo completo dei dipinti (Florence: Cantini, 1989), pp. 93, 96, no. 21, ill.

Christiansen, Keith. "Notes on Painting in Renaissance Siena." Burlington Magazine 132, no. 1044 (March 1990), p. 209.

Christie's, New York. Important Paintings by Old Masters. January 11, 1991, p. 134, under no. 76.

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. 67, ill.

Christiansen, Keith. "Simone Martini's Altar-Piece for the Commune of Siena." Burlington Magazine 136, no. 1092 (March 1994), pp. 151, 156-57, 158n53, figs. 5, 18.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1995), unpaginated, no. 1, ill., entry by Burton B. Fredericksen.

Pierini, Marco. "Simone Martini." In Enciclopedia dell'arte medievale. 12 vols. (Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 1991-2002), vol. 8 (1997), p. 249.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 81, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Paintings (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), pp. 8-9, no. 1, ill., entry by Burton B. Fredericksen.

Wadum, Jørgen. "Microclimate Boxes for Panel Paintings." In The Structural Conservation of Panel Paintings: Proceedings of a Symposium at the J. Paul Getty Museum, April 1995. Kathleen Dardes and Andrea Rothe, eds. (Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute, 1998), p. 505.

Bagnoli, Alessandro. La Maestà di Simone Martini (Milan: Silvana, 1999), pp. 124-25, 135, 142, 150n162, 151n164, 178.

Pierini, Marco. Simone Martini (Milan: Silvana, 2000), pp. 122, 127, 234–35n13, ill.

Kirsh, Andrea, and Rustin S. Levenson. Seeing Through Paintings: Physical Examination in Art Historical Studies (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), pp. 74, 246-47, figs. 75, 256.

Maginnis, Hayden B. J. The World of the Early Sienese Painter (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001), pp. 127-128n39.

Schmidt, Victor. "Portable Polyptychs with Narrative Scenes: Fourteenth-Century De luxe Objects Between Italian Panel Painting and French Arts Somptuaires." Studies in the History of Art 61, Symposium Papers XXXVIII: Italian Panel Painting of the Duecento and Trecento (2002), pp. 406, 421n23, ill.

Zuffi, Stefano. Gospel Figures in Art. Thomas Michael Hartmann, trans. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003), p. 20, ill.

Leone de Castris, Pierluigi. Simone Martini (Milan: Federico Motta Editore, 2003), pp. 242-49, 358-59, ill.

Allen, Denise, et al. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, with Thames & Hudson, 2003), pp. 10-11, no. 2, ill., entry by Burton B. Fredericksen.

Byzantium and the West, exh. brochure (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2004), unpaginated, ill.

Arnaldo, Javier, ed. Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. 2 vols. (Madrid: Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2004), pp. 30, 32n4, entry by Mauro Natale.

Krug, Margaret. An Artist's Handbook: Materials and Techniques (London: Laurence King Publishing, 2007), p. 167, ill.

Klein, Holger A., ed. Sacred Gifts and Worldly Treasures: Medieval Masterworks from the Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2007), p. 267.

Boskovits, Miklós, and Johannes Tripps, eds. Maestri senesi e toscani nel Lindenau-Museum di Altenburg, exh. cat. (Siena: Complesso museale, with Protagon, 2008), pp. 126, 129-30n13, under no. 21, entry by Wolfgang Loseries.

Campbell, C. Jean. The Commonwealth of Nature: Art and Poetic Community in the Age of Dante (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2008), pp. 86-87, fig. 39.

Doherty, Tiarna, and Anne T. Woollett. Looking at Paintings: A Guide to Technical Terms. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2009), pp. 74-75, ill.

Gordon, Dillon, ed. National Gallery Catalogues: The Italian Paintings Before 1400 (London: National Gallery Company Limited, 2011), p. 388.

Polzer, Joseph. "Some Altarpieces Executed by Simone Martini's Workshop, and Lippo Vanni's Artistic Origin." Arte Cristiana 100 (May-October 2012), pp. 179-86, fig. 18.

Fredericksen, Burton B. The Burdens of Wealth: Paul Getty and His Museum (Bloomington: Archway Publishing, 2015), pp. 225-26.

Nicolai, Fausto. "'Primitives' in America: Frederick Mason Perkins and the Early Renaissance Italian Paintings in the Lehman and Blumenthal Collections." Journal of the History of Collections (April 28, 2018), (accessed online October 1, 2018), p. 16n.37.

Allan, Scott, Davide Gasparotto, Peter Björn Kerber, and Anne T. Woollett. Masterpieces of Painting: J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2018), pp. 6, 21, ill.

MacLennan, Douglas, et al. "Visualizing and measuring gold leaf in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Italian gold ground paintings using scanning macro X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy: a new tool for advancing art historical research." Heritage Science 7, no. 25 (2019), pp. 3, 5, 8, fig. 2c.