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Title St Francis of Assisi
Collection Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham
Artist Attributed to Ugolino di Nerio (Italian painter, active early 14th century)
Date Earliest possibly about 1300
Date Latest possibly about 1350

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, the name for the marks of the wounds that correspond to those Christ suffered on the cross. They miraculously appeared on Francis's palms, feet and abdomen. This panel once formed part of a larger altarpiece.

The label on the frame records the artist as Ugolino da Siena (Ugolino di Nerio), but this is not now generally accepted.

Current Accession Number 43.6
Subject religion (Saint Francis)
Measurements 88.2 x 32.2 cm (arched top)
Material tempera on panel
Acquisition Details Purchased from Henry Harris 1943 for 2,000.
Provenance L. Smith; Mrs M. T. Smith before 1889; Captain Francis N. Smith, 1889; Christie's, 5 February 1910 (lot 145) as Early Italian School, purchased by Mrs Robert Crawshay; purchased by Henry Harris.
Publications Berenson, B., Italian Pictures of the Renaissance, Oxford, 1932, p. 583; Catalogue of the paintings, drawings and miniatures in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Cambridge, 1952, p. 116-117; Berenson, B., Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Central Italian and North Italian schools, London, 1968, rev. ed., I, p. 437; Stubblebine, J. H., Duccio di Buoninsegna and his school, Princeton, 1979, I, pp. 182-3, fig. 458 (as by the 'Clark Polyptych Master').
Notes The painting was discussed with Caroline Campbell of the National Gallery in November 2012. Campbell suggested that the frame was probably a later addition, possibly 19th century (the punching was clumsy and would not have been seen in a frame from the 14th century), and that the background gilding had probably been scumbled to look like one single piece. Campbell confirmed that it was likely to have been painted by a Sienese artist in the early part of the 14th century but that it was unlikely to have been painted by Ugolino. A conservation report from 1991 in the curatorial file supports Campbell's suggestion: the report states that the frame is probably of modern construction and has certainly been rebuilt, probably in the 19th century. There is a stencil mark on the reverse: '1 BP'.
Rights Owner The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham
Author Dr Nicola Gauld/Barber Institute



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