Borghese di Piero, formerly called the "Master of Saints Quiricus and Julitta"
- Borghese di Piero, formerly called the "Master of Saints Quiricus and Julitta"
- The Visitation
- tempera on panel
This depiction of the Visitation, most likely a predella for an as yet unidentified altarpiece, is by the fascinating painter Borghese di Piero, a native of Pisa but active much of his career in nearby Lucca. A body of work attributable to the artist began to take shape beginning in 1965, when Roberto Longhi recognized that three predella panels depicting scenes from the life of Saints Quiricus and Julitta (then in the Gambier-Parry collection and now in the Courtauld, London [inv.P.1966.GP.264.1-3]) were by the same artist as an anconetta of the Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints Sebastian and Leonard in a private collection. He christened the artist the "Master of Saints Quiricus and Julitta" after the London panels.1 Carlo Volpe added nine paintings to this nucleus in 1973 with some at the suggestion of Miklòs Boskovits.2 Volpe's article confirmed the anonymous artist's apparent Florentine influences (particularly Masaccio and Masolino), but also suggested a certain provincialism, not least because some of these new additions were still in situ or with known provenances that placed their original locations well outside of the city of Florence. Both Volpe and Zeri suggested that the painter might be identified with the Pisan painter Battista di Gerio, a reasonable theory given the influences seen in his works.3 The emergence of further works attributed to the Master in Lucca and its environs seemed to secure an ambient for the artist in Western Tuscany. The identity and personality—and the apparent anomalism of his artistic personality, at times more "Florentinizing" and others more "Pisanizing"—continued to be discussed and it was only in 1995 that Maria Teresa Filieri was able to confirm the true name of the artist by connecting the eponymous London predelle with the commission for the high altar of the church of San Quirico di Capannori given to Borghese di Piero in 1448.4 This connection was stylistically confirmed by the discovery of another document of 1457 charging Borghese with the fresco decoration in the chapel of Santa Caterina in the Carmelite church of San Piero Cigoli, Lucca.
We are grateful to Everett Fahy for first suggesting the attribution of the present panel to Borghese di Piero. We are also grateful to Maria Teresa Filieri for confirming the attribution based on photographs.
1. R. Longhi, "Un incontro col 'Maestro dei Santi Quirico e Giulitta'," in Paragone, XVI, 1965, 185, pp. 40-43.
2. C. Volpe, "Alcune restituzioni al Maestro dei Santi Quirico e Giulitta," in Quaderni di Emblema 2, 1973, pp. 17-21;
3. F. Zeri, "Una scheda per Battista di Gerio" in Quaderni di Emblema 2, 1973, pp. 13-16; and F. Zeri, "Battista di Gerio: un piccolo passo avanti," in Diari di lavoro 2, 1976, pp. 36-8;
4. M.T. Filieri, "Proposte per il maestro dei Santi Quirico e Giulitta," in Arte Cristiana, LXXXIII, 1995-274;