Enea Salmeggia, Italian, c.1565/70 -1626
Title: St Bartholomew
Date: c.1605
Medium: Oil with traces of black chalk, on paper, laid down on modern panel
30.5 x 12.3 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, 2018
Object Number: NGI.2018.61
DescriptionHere, Saint Bartholomew gazes toward heaven while holding a book and a butcher’s knife, the latter an allusion to the instrument used to skin him alive during his martyrdom. In this preparatory design, Bergamese artist Enea Salmeggia loosely mapped out the saint’s features and draperies, before carefully refining them in his finished painting (NGI.80). The composition perhaps owes a debt to Sebastiano del Piombo (c.1485-1547), who painted the saint under an arch on the organ shutters of San Bartolomeo, Venice (now Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice) almost a century previous, and was once thought to be the author of Salmeggia’s completed work. The study was executed in grisaille (grey monochrome), permitting the artist to explore the contrast between light and shadow, and imparting a sculptural quality to the figure.
ProvenancePrivate collection, Italy; Christie's, London, 3 July 2018, lot 14, bought in; purchased, after sale