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Francesco Pesellino, Fra Filippo Lippi and workshop of Fra Filippo Lippi, Saints Zeno and Jerome

Key facts
Full title Saints Zeno and Jerome
Artist Francesco Pesellino, Fra Filippo Lippi and workshop of Fra Filippo Lippi
Artist dates 1422 - 1457; born about 1406; died 1469; born about 1406; died 1469
Group The Pistoia Santa Trinità Altarpiece
Date made 1455-60
Medium and support Egg tempera, tempera grassa and oil on wood
Dimensions 84.5 × 56 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by the Art Fund in association with and by the generosity of Sir Joseph Duveen, Bt, 1929
Inventory number NG4428
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Saints Zeno and Jerome
Francesco Pesellino, Fra Filippo Lippi and workshop of Fra Filippo Lippi

This large pala (an altarpiece with a single, unified surface) was painted for a church in Pistoia, but sawn into pieces in the eighteenth century. It was reassembled in the National Gallery – look closely and you can see lines where the fragments were put back together.

Two fourth-century saints – Zeno, a bishop of Verona, and Jerome, one of the Fathers of the Church – stand in front of a palm and an olive tree. Zeno holds a crosier, while Jerome has a book, as he translated the Bible into Latin, and wears the red robes of a cardinal. As secretary to the pope he is usually shown as a cardinal, although the office did not exist in his day.

This altarpiece was begun by Francesco Pesellino and completed by Filippo Lippi after Pesellino’s death. It’s not clear which artist painted which bit, and Zeno and Jerome are especially problematic: they are painted in a different way to other parts of the panel.

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The Pistoia Santa Trinità Altarpiece


This large altarpiece – one of the few in the National Gallery which is almost complete – has had an eventful life. It was commissioned in 1455 from the Florentine painter Francesco Pesellino, and is his only surviving documented work. He died in 1457 and it was finished by Fra Filippo Lippi and his workshop. We know a lot about how and why it was made from the records of the confraternity who commissioned it.

From 1465 it sat on the high altar of the church of the Holy Trinity at Pistoia, but in 1793 the confraternity was suppressed and the altarpiece was taken apart, with the main panel sawn into pieces, and dispersed. Most of it was gradually acquired by the National Gallery and the altarpiece reassembled.

This is the earliest pala (an altarpiece with a single main panel) in the National Gallery.