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Bartolomeo Montagna, Saint Zeno, Saint John the Baptist and a Female Martyr

Key facts
Full title Saint Zeno, Saint John the Baptist and a Female Martyr
Artist Bartolomeo Montagna
Artist dates living 1459; died 1523
Date made probably about 1495
Medium and support Oil on canvas, transferred from wood
Dimensions 102.9 × 141 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Inscribed
Acquisition credit Layard Bequest, 1916
Inventory number NG3074
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Saint Zeno, Saint John the Baptist and a Female Martyr
Bartolomeo Montagna

Saint John the Baptist is shown between Saint Zeno, the fourth-century Bishop of Verona, and a female saint. Because of the finery of her clothing and her long flowing hair, she may be Saint Catherine, who was a princess from Alexandria. However, the saint is usually shown with the spiked wheel used in her torture, so it is difficult to be sure.

Saint John carries a fine reed cross, a symbol of Christ’s crucifixion. The scroll curled around it is inscribed in Latin with the words he spoke about Christ when he was preaching in the wilderness (John 1: 29, 36): ECCE AGNVS (‘Behold the Lamb’).

The picture is in poor condition, partly because the paint surface has been transferred from the wooden panel on which it was painted to canvas.

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