TUSCAN SCHOOL OF THE 15TH CENTURY
Saint Zanobi blessing with Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Lucia
Datated: 1440 – 1450 circa
tempera on panel, 42,5×28 cm
The small and delightful panel depicts three saints standing: Francis, recognizable by his habit, cross and stigmata; Zanobi, bishop, in the act of blessing, and Lucia, who holds a plate with eye bulbs and the palm, her iconographic attributes.
The author of this panel is undoubtedly an artist who is linked to the most beautiful moment of Florentine painting, around the middle of the century, and to the workshop of Filippo Lippi. Lippi was by far the most popular artist in the city at that time and it was in his workshop that all, or almost all, of the greatest protagonists of what has been called the “Painting of Light”manner used to gather, from Pesellino, to the Master of the Nativity of Castello, to Fra Diamante, to Fra Carnevale and more.
None of these artists can be precisely attributed as authors of this panel, which, however, has in the face of Francis such a close resemblance to the physiognomy of Filippo Lippi around 1450, that it is impossible to distance our analysis from that environment. Even the figure of the holy bishop, which can be recognized in Saint Zanobi, betrays perhaps a Florentine origin and bear a strong resemblance to some similar saints of the master craftsman. The in-depth study of the great cycles of the frescoes of Prato could reveal the hand of this painter among the secondary figures, as he was certainly one of Lippi’s aids.