Three Saints

This panel was probably painted in about 1365. This altarpiece is said to have come originally from the church of San Giovanni Battista della Calza, Florence, hence the presence of Saint John the Baptist at the centre. Particularly beautiful underdrawing is visible on John the Baptist's robe where the pink paint has become transparent.

The church was built by Bindo di Lapo Benini, who may also have commissioned this altarpiece, thus explaining the presence of Saint James holding a pilgrim's staff (Lapo is a version of Jacopo which means James in Italian). Bindo di Lapo Benini's brother was Prior of the Order in Pisa, hence the presence of Saint John the Evangelist, James's brother, holding a book (his Gospel).

The imitation textile, with its pattern of birds, on which the saint stands, was often used by Nardo.

Key facts

Artist dates
documented 1343-6; died 1365-6
Full title
Saint John the Baptist, Saint John the Evangelist (?) and Saint James
Date made
about 1363-5
Medium and support
Egg tempera on poplar
159.5 x 148 cm
Inscription summary
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1857
Inventory number
Location in Gallery