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Saint Anthony Abbot
Jacopo di Cione and workshop

Saint Anthony Abbot is regarded as the founder of monasticism in the West. He was born in Egypt in about 251, and died in the year 356.

He organised hermits into loosely associated communities, but spent much of his life in solitude when he endured physical and spiritual temptations. The austerity and wisdom of his life is recorded in a biography of him written by Saint Athanasius.

Key facts
Artist Jacopo di Cione and workshop
Artist dates documented 1365; died 1398 -1400
Full title Saint Anthony Abbot
Group The Littleton Pilaster Saints
Date made about 1365-70
Medium and support Tempera on panel
Dimensions 49.7 x 11.6 x 2.4 cm
Acquisition credit On loan from the Rector and Churchwardens of St Mary Magdalene Church, Littleton
Inventory number L1083
Location in Gallery Room 60
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The Littleton Pilaster Saints

These six pilaster panels were discovered wrapped in newspaper in 1995 in the church of Saint Mary Magdalene, Littleton, having been removed during the restoration of the church in the 1970s.

They have recently been cleaned by students at the Courtauld Institute. They are first recorded in the collection of the 19th-century collector, William Young Ottley.

The presence of three saints of the Camaldolese order (reformed Benedictines) suggests they may have come from the monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence. They may have been part of the same altarpiece as the pinnacle panel with Noli me tangere on display in the same room. This in turn has been associated with several fragments in American collections which may have formed part of an altarpiece thought to have come from a chapel dedicated to All Saints in Santa Maria degli Angeli, founded by a notary, Ser Francesco di ser Berto degli Albizzi.

The di Cione brothers, Andrea, Jacopo and Nardo dominated Florentine painting during the second half of the 14th century. Also by Jacopo and his workshop in the National Gallery is the gigantic altarpiece from San Pier Maggiore, Florence, painted 1370-71 showing the Coronation of the Virgin, and the Crucifixion.

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