Master of the San Bartolomeo Triptych
- Master of the San Bartolomeo Triptych
- The betrayal of Christ
- tempera on panel, gold ground
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The rectangular scenes in the predella and lateral panels of the Master’s eponymous triptych bear marked parallels with this hitherto unpublished depiction of the Betrayal of Christ. Like those in the triptych, the scene has a delightful sense of anecdotal narrative. Christ is depicted frontally at the center of the composition, on one side embraced by Judas, while on the other, a soldier springs to apprehend him, already grasping his arm. The Sanhedrin priests talk among themselves, depicted in exotic robes, and in the background, the remaining apostles can be seen fleeing beyond the hills, only their heads visible in a charmingly naïve representation of perspective. The gilded ornamentation of the soldiers’ armor, the decoratively bordered fabric of the robes and the soft, round-cheeked faces all recall elements of the Urbino triptych. However this newly discovered panel dates earlier than the eponymous triptych, toward the end of the 14th century.4
As Andrea De Marchi indicates, a long predella panel would have a horizontal grain and its reverse, which would not be on display, would not have a prepared surface but would more likely be rough wood.5 Here, however, the vertical grain of the wood and red gesso preparation on the reverse suggest the panel formed part of the closeable wing of a triptych, rather than a predella.
We are grateful to Andrea De Marchi for recognizing this panel as the work of the Master of the San Bartolomeo Triptych and dating to the end of the 14th century.
1. A. De Marchi, “Due ignoti pittori tardogotici a Urbino e a Rimini”, in Nuovi studi sulla pittura tardogotica. Intorno a Gentile da Fabriano, Livorno 2007, p. 133, reproduced fig. 1.
2. Ibid., pp. 133 – 141.
3. Ibid., p. 136.
4. A. De Marchi, private communication dated 31 August 2013.