Skip to main content

Giorgio Schiavone, Saint Bernardino

Key facts
Full title Saint Bernardino
Artist Giorgio Schiavone
Artist dates 1436/7 - 1504
Series S. Niccolò Altarpiece, Padua
Date made probably about 1456-61
Medium and support Tempera on wood
Dimensions 72 × 25.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1860
Inventory number NG630.2
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Saint Bernardino
Giorgio Schiavone

An old man in a grey habit, cheeks sunken and toothless mouth drawn down, clasps his hands in prayer. This is Bernardino of Siena, the most famous and charismatic Italian preacher of the early fifteenth century. On his chest is a red medallion with gold lettering; it reads ‘IHS’, the monogram of the name of Jesus, to which Bernardino encouraged devotion.

The figure once stood at the left side of a large polyptych (a multi-panelled altarpiece) painted for the church of San Niccolò in Padua by Giorgio Schiavone. It was made for the funerary chapel of the wealthy Roberti family, which was dedicated to Bernardino.

This is one of the earliest paintings in our collection that is based on an identifiable person, although it was not made until after Bernardino’s death. The preacher was well known in Padua; Schiavone possibly even saw him, as Bernardino was said to have visited the artist’s teacher, Squarcione.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo

S. Niccolò Altarpiece, Padua


This two-tier altarpiece was painted between about 1456 and 1461 for the funerary chapel of the wealthy Roberti family in the church of San Nicolò in Padua. Its altar was dedicated to the Franciscan missionary Bernardino of Siena, seen among the full-length saints in the lower tier. He was canonised in 1450, shortly before Giovanni de Roberti left funds in his will for the chapel’s construction.

Other saints were chosen for their special significance for members of the Roberti family. John the Baptist was the name saint of Giovanni de Roberti. His sons Antonio and Piero were represented by Anthony of Padua and Peter Martyr, who were also the patron saints of Padua. The altarpiece must have had an elaborate original frame, which has been lost.

The illusory label attached to the base of the Virgin’s throne in the centre panel identifies the altarpiece as the work of Giorgio Schiavone, a disciple of Francesco Squarcione. ‘Schiavone’ means ‘the Slavonian’, referring to the fact that the artist came from Dalmatia (in modern-day Croatia).