Nicolò di Pietro - inv. 1573

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Titolo: 
Saint Benedict Tempted in the Wilderness
Numero di Inventario: 
1573
Tipologia: 
paintings
Collezione: 

Painting

Classe iconografica: 
Religious
Parole chiave soggetto: 
Saint Benedict
temptations
Motivo attribuzione: 
stylistic analysis
Autore, ambito, luogo di produzione: 
Nicolò di Pietro (documented 1334-1427)
Ambito e luogo di produzione: 
Venice
Italy
Periodo: 
1400
Datazione specifica: 
1415-1420
Libri correlati: 
Pubblicazione: 
Si
Materia e Tecnica: 
tempera and oil on panel
Data di Ingresso: 
1893
Tipo di acquisizione: 
acquisition
Tipo di collocazione: 
on display
Collocazione: 
Golden Room

The panel shows an episode from the life of Saint Benedict, from the biography written by Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th century. Having retired to live in a grotto on mount Subiaco, the saint was tormented by the devil, in the guise of a blackbird, who made him suffer erotic temptation. To avoid it, Benedict decided to remove all his clothes and roll in bushes of thorns and nettles. The angel in the painting represents the divine illumination that helped Benedict escape from sin.

Almost lacking a horizon, the scene is closed by a rocky backdrop with trees, bushes and a stream; in the middle of a clearing, the saint seems to be struggling with conflicting thoughts and turns his head uncertainly towards the angel.

The anatomy of both the saint and the blackbird, the leaves of the bushes and the loincloth have all been painted very naturalistically, like the light modelling the volumes. Elegant Gothic elements instead characterize the angel with its multicolour wings and blue cloak. For its high quality, the painting has been attributed to the leading artists of the International Gothic: Pisanello, Giambono, and Gentile da Fabriano. Today it is attributed to Nicolò di Pietro, a successful Venetian artist, influenced by Gentile. Datable to about 1415-1420, the panel was part of a polyptych, with the image of the saint in the centre. Three other scenes are in the Uffizi: The Infant St. Benedict repairs a Broken Sieve, St. Benedict and the Poisoned Wine, St. Benedict exorcises a Monk. The provenance of the polyptych is still unknown.

Masterpiece: 
false
AC/DC: 
DC