(Siena, 1330 ca. – 1410)

St. Jacob Minor

tempera on panel
129×42,5 cm

One of the most important painters of the late 14th Century in Siena, Bartolo di Fredi, was engaged with significant commissions throughout the territory in particular between 1372 and the early 15th Century. In addition to that, he held significant political positions during the democratic period of the Sienese Republic. Representative of a painting rooted in the great tradition, from Simone Martini to Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti, Bartolo interpreted the style of his predecessors in a personal way. However he didn’t show a particular interest in rendering the spatial depths towards which the artistic technique was moving, as was happening in Florence, for example, with Giovanni del Biondo.

It is not clear yet the origin of this beautiful panel representing St. Jacob Minor. Although slightly resected at the bottom, it has an exceptional state of conservation, presenting bright colors and a bright gold with various and different punchings for the decoration of the contours and for the Saint’s nimbus. The panel shows laterally the holes of the wooden pegs realized during the assembly of the polyptych of which it was part, unfortunately not yet identified.

The dating around 1370-80 is plausible if we compare our panel with the highest artworks by the artist such as, for example, the Adoration of the Magi housed in the Pinacoteca di Siena and the Journey of the Magi of the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Dijon.