Master Paintings Part II

Master Paintings Part II

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 508. The Sermon of St. Peter Martyr.

Property from a Distinguished Private Collection

Master of Roncaiette

The Sermon of St. Peter Martyr

Lot Closed

January 30, 03:08 PM GMT


100,000 - 150,000 USD

Lot Details


Property from a Distinguished Private Collection

Master of Roncaiette

active in the Veneto from the end of the 14th century until about 1424

The Sermon of St. Peter Martyr

tempera and gold on panel

panel: 24 3/4 by 15 7/8 in.; 63.5 by 40.3 cm. 

framed: 26 7/8 by 18 in.; 68.3 by 45.6 cm. 

Friedrich Lippmann, Berlin;
His posthumous sale, Berlin, Rudolph Lepke, 26-27 November 1912, lot 12 (as school of Giotto, and as depicting the preaching of Saint Francis of Assisi);
Anonymous sale, Cologne, Lempertz, 19 May 2001, lot 1041 (as Emilian School, 15th Century);
There acquired by Moretti Fine Art, Florence;
From whom acquired, 2007.
S. Padovani, "Materiale per la storia della pittura ferrarese nel primo Quattrocento," Antichità viva, XIII, no. 5, (1974), p. 10, reproduced fig. 32 (as Giovanni di Francia, in a moment of affinity with the Master of Roncaiette);
M. Lucco, "Padova," in La pittura nel Veneto. Il Quattrocento, vol. II, pt. 1, Milan 1989, p. 97, note 23;
D. Benati in Da Ambrogio Lorenzetti a Sandro Botticelli, exhibition catalogue, Florence 2003, pp. 104-107.

The narrative recorded in this vivid and intriguing panel comes from the life of the Veronese saint, Peter Martyr (d. 1252).1  He is shown here before a rocky landscape atop a pulpit gesturing upwards towards the sky as a group of onlookers appear below. A crowd has gathered to observe a dispute between a heretic and the Saint. The heretic challenged Peter to prove his sanctity by ordering clouds to fill the sky and block the sun's rays, in turn providing relief from the unbearable midday heat. In this scene, the artist has captured the moment the clouds appeared in front of the sun to the dismay of the heretic, who is likely the man at the base of the pulpit with a downcast expression and a dog.  

The Master of Roncaiette was active in the Veneto at the end of the 14th and early 15th centuries, primarily in Verona and Padua. This anonymous master was first identified in 1947 by Roberto Longhi who named him for a large altarpiece in the Church of San Fidenzio in Roncaiette, just outside of Padua. Another notable work by this artist is a Madonna and Child in the Museo Civico in Padua (inv. no. 1151). The master's style followed in the tradition established by Altichiero, a gothic follower of Giotto who laid the groundwork of the Veronese school. He also came under the direct influence of Martino da Verona, and later under Gentile da Fabriano and Jacobello da Fiore, two artists who championed the late gothic style.  Mauro Lucco has more recently identified this master as Federico Tedesco, an artist active in Padua from about 1395 - 14242 and whose signed Nativity from 1420 is today in the Pinacoteca Civica in Forlì.3 

The Master of Roncaiette mainly produced paintings of a conventional religious nature. As such, the present work, filled with much more of an elaborate narrative, can be singled out within his oeuvre. The subject and composition of the present work suggests that it may have once functioned as part of an important dossal, or altarpiece, at the center of which would have been Saint Peter Martyr. Episodes from his life would have been visible to the right and left in two or more registers. The altarpiece was likely painted for Saint Peter Martyr's Dominican order, but because of this artist's wide veneration throughout the Veneto during this period, it is difficult to determine its earliest provenance. It is possible that it once formed part of an altarpiece devoted to Saint Peter Martyr in the now destroyed Church of Saint Augustine in Padua or perhaps part of an altarpiece in Padua's Oratory of Saint Peter Martyr. 

According to Daniele Benati, the present work was probably completed in the Veneto and likely dates to circa 1410-1420, which is this master's most accomplished period. Mauro Lucco, to whom we are grateful, has also endorsed the present attribution and has suggested an alternative date of 1404-1410 based on the costumes of the figures.  

1. As recorded in Jacop da Varazza's Legenda aurea.  See G. Kaftal and F. Biscogni, Iconography of Saints in teh Painting of North East Italy, Florence 1978, pp. 844-854. 

2. Lucco 1989, pp. 80-82.  

3. See Fondazione Federico Zeri Archive, ref. no. 24029.