in Features | 05 SEP 16
Featured in
Issue 3

Telling Tales - Trecento Florence

From Ancient Egypt to Baroque Bologna to avant-garde Moscow, the works at Frieze Masters open up a world of stories

in Features | 05 SEP 16

Succour for the condemned

Moretti Fine Art, D1

Taddeo Gaddi, St Anthony Abbot, c.1300–66, tempera on panel, 62×35 cm

St Anthony Abbot is known as the ‘Father of all Monks’, a pioneer of the ascetic and contemplative life. Having buried his friend St Paul the Hermit in the Egyptian desert, he is also the patron saint of gravediggers. The panel has been connected to Gaddi’s St Julian, in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and likely belonged to the same altarpiece. Therefore, it was probably commissioned by Florence’s venerable Compagnia di Santa Maria della Croce al Tempio, who undertook to assist and give succour to those condemned to death as they ascended to the scaffold. Anthony is shown as a pious man, at once grave and humble, his head bent modestly in contemplation.

One of the most gifted followers of Giotto, ‘the father of Italian painting’, the panel reveals Gaddi’s growing tendency to revisit the compositional schemes and forms of the early Trecento, establishing an individual – even polemical – stance that separated him from his contemporaries.