David the younger Teniers (1610-1690)

The Bleaching Ground possibly Antwerp, the 1640s Oil on canvas 85 x 120.5 cm The women of an unidentified town gather for the first spring wash after the long winter months. The setting is a communal bleaching ground with its wells and an open wash house to the right. This is located outside the town … Read more

Ascribed to Jan de Beer (about 1475 – before 1528)

Joseph and the Suitors (recto), The Nativity (verso) This panel is painted on both sides and it formed part of an altarpiece or a screen illustrating the life of the Virgin Mary. She is shown in a nocturnal scene adoring the infant Christ. Two shepherds approach through the door to the right, and Joseph with … Read more

Emanuel de Witte (about 1617-1691/2)

The Interior of the Old Church, Amsterdam Amsterdam, probably the 1680s Oil on canvas 83.5 x 66.5 cm De Witte painted over forty views of the Old Church in Amsterdam, including others taken from this viewpoint by the side entrance at the west end.  With the sun shining from behind, a man casts a prominent … Read more

Paolo Caliari, called Veronese (1528 – 1588)

The Visitation Venice, about 1577 Oil on canvas 277.5 x 156 cm The Virgin, in the centre, greets her elderly cousin Elizabeth with news of the impending birth of Christ.  After a long barren life, Elizabeth is also miraculously pregnant, with John the Baptist.  Veronese locates the meeting in front of a palace.  The observers … Read more

Unknown Netherlandish Artist (16th Century)

A Portrait of an Unknown Ecclesiastic Netherlands, about 1550 Oil on wood 66.3 x 51 cm This fine portrait was previously attributed to Quentin Massys (1465/6-1530) but it is now thought to have been produced at least twenty years after his death. The sitter is identified as an ecclesiastic by his costume: a rochet with … Read more

Attributed to the Master of the Judgment of Paris

Daphne Pursued by Apollo The Metamorphosis of Daphne Florence, about 1450 Tempera on wood 47.4 x 53.1 cm The scenes illustrate a story from Metamorphoses written by the Roman poet Ovid.  The poem describes a series of magical transformations.  In the left panel, the god Apollo pursues the nymph Daphne who has rejected his love … Read more

Unknown Italian Artist

The Madonna and Child Enthroned (centre); Saint John the Baptist, with the Angel of the Annunciation (left); Saint Mary Magdalene, with the Madonna Annunciate (right) Tempera on wood Venice or Rimini, late 14th century 27.2 x 40 cm The Virgin Mary, enthroned with the infant Christ, appears against a finely decorated gold ground. They are … Read more

Unknown Italian Artist

The Crucifixion Probably Tuscany, the end of the 13th century Tempera on wood 56.5 x 32.5 cm The Virgin Mary and Saint John the Evangelist mourn at the foot of the cross.  Their anguish directs attention to the humanity of Christ and his suffering.  Such small scale devotional paintings sought to deepen and inspire faith, … Read more

Unknown Italian Artist, after Andrea del Sarto (1486 – 1530)

The Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist Florence, the early 16th century Oil on wood 55.3 x 39 cm This is a copy of a fresco which Andrea del Sarto painted for an outdoor tabernacle near one of the medieval gates of Florence. The fresco was painted in 1520 and was … Read more

Ugolino de Nerio (worked from 1317, died 1339 or 1349)

Saint Francis of Assisi Siena, probably the 1320s Tempera on wood 88.2 x 32.2 cm Saint Francis (1182 – 1226) wears the brown habit of the religious order he founded in the early 13th century. The triple-knotted girdle hanging from his waist symbolises the poverty, obedience and chastity demanded of his followers.  The saint displays his stigmata, … Read more

Jacopo Robusti, called Tintoretto (1518 – 1594)

A Portrait of a Young Man Venice, 1554 Oil on canvas 121 x 93.3 cm The inscription records that this portrait was painted ‘in the year 1554 in the month of May [or March], in the 22nd year of his age’.  Unfortunately, the identity of the young man has been lost.  However, the three-quarter-length format, … Read more

Tiberio of Assisi (about 1470-1524)

Saint Francis of Assisi Bastia, near Assisi, early 16th century Fresco, transferred to canvas in the 19th century 153 x 70 cm Saint Francis (about 1181-1226) is shown in the habit of the religious order he formed, the Friars Minor.  He displays the stigmata, the scars corresponding to the five wounds of the crucified Christ.  … Read more

Tiberio of Assisi (about 1470 – 1524)

Saint Ansanus Bastia, near Assisi, the early 16th century Fresco, trasferred to canvas in the 19th century 153 x 70 cm Ansanus (died 303) was a Sienese nobleman martyred by the Emperor Diocletian for converting to Christianity.  He was the city’s earliest patron saint.  He is shown holding his trachea, lungs, heart and liver, possibly … Read more

Philippe de Champaigne (1602-1674)

The Vision of Saint Juliana of Mont Cornillon Paris, about 1645/50 Oil on canvas 47.5 x 38.7 cm Saint Juliana (about 1191-1258) was a 16-year-old nun when she began to have visions whilst praying.  She interpreted the appearance of the moon, marked with a stain, as a rebuke to the Church for not having a … Read more

Simone Martini (about 1284 – 1344)

Saint John the Evangelist Siena, 1320 Tempera on wood 41.7 x 30.3 cm This originally formed the right-hand panel of three – a triptych.  The others would have shown the dead Christ in the centre, with the grieving Virgin Mary to the left.  Saint John’s sorrow was a reaction to Christ’s crucifixion.  The panels could … Read more

Luca Signorelli (about 1441 – 1523)

A Portrait of Niccolò Vitelli Città di Castello, central Italy, about 1492-6 Oil on wood 44.2 x 33 cm Niccolò Vitelli (1414 – 1486) was a ruthless mercenary commander who established his family as rulers of Città di Castello.  This portrait was painted after his death.  It was probably commissioned by his sons as a … Read more

Cosimo Rosselli (1439 – 1507)

The Adoration of the Infant Christ Rome, about 1480 Tempera on wood 177.8 x 149.5 cm This is the main panel of an altarpiece.  A complex group of figures is gathered within a beautiful landscape.  Three saints surround the infant Christ: Jerome with his chest bared; Francis in the grey habit; and Benedict in the … Read more

NERI DI BICCI (1418 – about 1492)

Saint John the Baptist Leaving for the Desert Florence, about 1470 Tempera on wood 23.8 x 37.8 cm Saint John, dressed in camel skin, takes leave of his parents outside the walls of Jerusalem.  He journeys to begin his life as a preacher in the desert, which will culminate in his baptising Christ. The panel … Read more

Matteo di Giovanni (about 1430 – 1495)

The Madonna and Child, with Saint John the Baptist and Saint Michael the Archangel Siena, about 1485-95 Tempera on wood 57.9 x 40.4 cm John the Baptist, to the left, points to the infant Christ.  His banner proclaims ECCE DEI – ‘Here is [the lamb] of God’.  John wears the camel-hair robe which signifies his … Read more

The Master of the Griselda Legend (worked around 1490 – 1500)

Alexander the Great Siena, about 1494 Oil and tempera on wood 105.4 x 50.8 cm Alexander of Macedon (356 – 326BC) is shown as a youthful warrior posed on a pedestal.  This is one of a series, showing virtuous men and women of antiquity, which decorated a palace in Siena.  The inscription underlines the moral.  … Read more

The Circle of Rogier van der Weyden (about 1399/1400 – 1464)

The Deposition (centre); Adam and Eve Mourning Abel (left); Joseph’s Coat Shown to Jacob and Rachel (right) Brussels, about 1450 Oil on wood Centre panel 53.3 x 42.8 cm; wings 52.5 x 16.7 cm In the centre, Christ is taken down from the cross by Joseph of Arimathea and others, while his mother, the Virgin, … Read more

Bicci di Lorenzo (1373 – 1452)

Saint Romuald Florence, second quarter of the 15th century Tempera on wood 34.3 x 22.8 cm This panel formed the main part of a standard which was carried on processional occasions.  The open book is inscribed with the words that the spectators would have used: ‘My father Romuald, most excellent hermit, intercede with the Lord … Read more

Giovanni Bellini (about 1430 – 1516)

A Portrait of a Boy Venice, about 1475 Oil on wood 38 x 23 cm This panel originally formed the lid of an inheritance chest. This was constructed to hold the marble bust of Angelo Probi who died in 1474. He was ambassador to Venice for the King of Naples.  The portrait therefore probably shows his … Read more

Sandro Botticelli (about 1445 – 1510)

The Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist Florence, the 1480s Tempera on canvas 130.7 x 91.4 cm  The Virgin lowers the infant Christ to embrace his cousin, John the Baptist.  Christ recognises that Saint John will pave the way for his own divine mission.  The complex poses and the narrow composition … Read more

Giovanni Bellini (about 1430 – 1516)

Saint Jerome in the Wilderness Venice, about 1460 Tempera on wood 44 x 22.9 cm Saint Jerome (died 419) was a scholar who translated the Bible into Latin.  He also retired to the wilderness and lived the secluded of a hermit.  According to legend, he removed a thorn from the paw of a lion who … Read more

Domenico Beccafumi (1484 – 1551)

Reclining Nymph (Venus and Cupid) Siena, about 1519 Oil on wood 71.7 x 13.8 cm This panel formed part of the decoration of the bedchamber of Francesco Petrucci of Siena and his wife Caterina Piccolomini.  It was used as the headboard of the bed.  The figure appears to be a water nymph, but she has … Read more

Jacopo da Ponte, called Bassano (about 1510 – 1592)

The Adoration of the Magi Bassano, near Venice, the end of the 1560s Oil on canvas 94.3 x 130 cm The three kings, or Magi, approach the infant Christ with their gifts.  Despite their worldly wealth, they bow to Christ who is acclaimed as the King of Kings.  The setting in a ruined classical building … Read more