About This Artwork

Matteo di Giovanni
Italian, c. 1430–1495

Saint Augustine's Vision of Saints Jerome and John the Baptist, 1476

Tempera on panel
14 3/4 x 26 in. (37.6 x 66.1 cm); painted surface: 14 1/8 x 25 3/8 in. (36 x 64.4 cm)

Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1933.1019

A leading Sienese painter of the late 15th century, Matteo di Giovanni knew how to combine the poetry characteristic of Sienese painting with the rationalization of space introduced in nearby Florence. This panel, a Crucifixion scene, and the Art Institute’s The Dream of Saint Jerome were part of the base, or predella, of an altarpiece made for the funerary chapel of the Placidi family of Siena; it reflects the family’s devotion to Saint Jerome. Here, as Saint Augustine sits in his study composing a eulogy celebrating Jerome’s life, the saint appears to him in a vision accompanied by Saint John the Baptist. The Baptist tells Augustine that Jerome is to be honored as his equal. Above the narrative scenes on the predella, the center of the altarpiece, which remains in the church of San Domenico, Siena, also had a visionary subject: the Virgin and Child surrounded by angels appearing to Saints Jerome and John the Baptist.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

London, Burlington Fine Arts Club, Pictures of the School of Siena and Examples of the Minor Arts of That City, 1904, no. 43.

New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Painting in Renaissance Siena, 1420–1500, December 20, 1988 – March 19, 1989, no. 49c.

London, National Gallery, Renaissance Siena: Art for a City, October 24, 2007 – January 13, 2008, no. 37.

Florence, Palazzo Pitti, Galleria Palatina, Il Sogno nel Rinascimento, May 21 – September 15, 2013, no. 34; traveled to Paris, Musée du Luxembourg, 2013–2014 .

Publication History

Bernard Berenson, The Central Italian Painters of the Renaissance, 2d ed. (New York and London, 1909), p. 194.

Gustav Friedrich Hartlaub, Matteo da Siena und seine Zeit (Strasbourg, 1910), pp. 117–18, 139.

J. A. Crowe and G. B. Cavalcaselle, A History of Painting in Italy, T. Borenius ed., 2d ed., vol. 5 (New York, 1914), p. 184 n. 2.

Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University: Collection of Mediaeval and Renaissance Paintings (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1919), p. 128.

Rose Mary Fischkin, “Two Paintings by Matteo di Giovanni,” Art Institute Bulletin 20 (1926), pp. 30–32, fig. 2.

Rose Mary Fischkin, “Martin A. Ryerson Collection of Paintings and Sculpture, XIII to XVIII Century, Loaned to The Art Institute of Chicago,” (unpub. MS, 1926, Ryerson Library, The Art Institute of Chicago), pp. 41–43.

Lionello Venturi, Pitture italiane in America (Milan, 1931), pl. CCXXVII.

Bernard Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance (Oxford, 1932), p. 350.

Art Institute of Chicago, A Guide to the Paintings in the Permanent Collection (Chicago, 1932), p. 181, no. 1687.25.

William R. Valentiner, Paintings in the Collection of Martin A. Ryerson, (unpub. MS, 1932, Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago), n. p.

M. Gengaro, “Matteo di Giovanni,” La Diana 9 (1934), pp. 166–68.

Bernard Berenson, Pitture italiane del Rinascimento (Milan, 1936), p. 301.

Raimond van Marle, The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting, vol. 16 (The Hague, 1937), pp. 342–43.

George Kaftal, Saints in Italian Art: Iconography of the Saints in Tuscan Painting (Florence, 1952), pp. 256, 529, 532.

Beatrice Wilczynski, “Matteo di Giovanni: Two Episodes from the Life of Saint Jerome,” Art Institute of Chicago Quarterly 50 (1956), pp. 74–76, ill.

Helen I. Roberts, “Saint Augustine in ‘St. Jerome’s Study’: Carpaccio’s Painting and Its Legendary Source,” Art Bulletin 41 (1959), p. 289, ill.

John Pope-Hennessy, “A Crucifixion by Matteo di Giovanni,” Burlington Magazine 52 (1960), pp. 63–67, fig. 21.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings in The Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Picture Collection (Chicago, 1961), p. 306.

Hans Huth, “Italienische Kunstwerke im Art Institute von Chicago, USA,” in Miscellanea Bibliothecae Hertzianae (Munich, 1961), p. 517.

Franco Russoli, La raccolta Berenson (Milan, 1962), p. XLIX.

Bernard Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Florentine School, vol. 1 (London, 1968), p. 258.

Sara Ekwall, “Ett ikonografiskt Birgittaproblem,” Konsthistorisk Tidskrijt 37 (1968), pp. 15–18, ill.

Gustina Scaglia, “Fantasy Architecture of Roma antica,” Arte lombarda 15, 2 (1970), pp. 17–18, ill.

T. Buddensieg, “Criticism of Ancient Architecture in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,” in Robert Ralph Bolgar, ed., Classical Influences on European Culture, A.D. 1500–1700 (Cambridge, England, 1971), p. 338 n. 5.

Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1972), pp. 139, 376, 408.

Denys Sutton, “Robert Langton Douglas: An Annus Mirabilis,” Apollo 59 (1979), p. 304, fig. 21.

Fredrika Herman Jacobs, “Carpaccio’s Vision of S. Augustine and S. Augustine’s Theories of Music,” Studies in Iconography 6 (1980), p. 83 n. 4.

Erica Trimpi, “Iohannem Baptistam Heironymo aequalem et non maiorem: A Predella for Matteo di Giovanni’s Placidi Altarpiece,” Burlington Magazine 125 (1983), pp. 457–66, fig. 6.

Edwin Hall and Horst Uhr, “Aureola super Auream: Crowns and Related Symbols of Special Distinction for Saints in Late Gothic and Renaissance Iconography,” Art Bulletin 67 (1985), p. 578, fig. 8.

Erica Trimpi, “A Re-attribution and Another Possible Addition to Matteo di Giovanni’s Placidi Altarpiece,” Burlington Magazine 127 (1985), pp. 363–67, fig. 29.

John Pope-Hennessy, “Whose Flagellation?” Apollo 124 (1986), pp. 163–65.

Piero Torriti, La Pinacoteca nazionale di Siena: i dipinti (Genoa, 1990), p. 260.

Peter Anselm Riedl and Max Seidel, Die Kirchen von Siena, vol. 2, pt. 1, 2 (1992), pp. 620–22.

Shelley E. Zuraw, "Mino da Fiesole's First Roman Sojourn: The Works in Santa Maria Maggiore" in Verrocchio and Late Quattrocento Italian Sculpture, ed., Steven Bule, Alan Phipps Darr and Fiorella Superbi Gioffredi (Florence, 1992), pp.313-14.

Christopher Lloyd, Italian Paintings before 1600 in The Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Collection (Chicago, 1993), pp. 151–58, ill.

Dóra Sallay, “Nuove considerazioni su due tavole d’altare di Matteo di Giovanni: La struttura della pala Placidi di San Domenico e della pala degli Innocenti di Sant’Agostino a Siena,” Prospettiva 112 (2003), p. 89 n. 4.

Alison Wright, The Pollaiuolo Brothers: The Arts of Florence and Rome (New Haven, 2005), p. 418.

Mariarosa Cortesi, Leggere I padre tra passato e presente (Florence, 2010), p. 167.

Gabriele Fattorini, “Matteo di Giovanni’s ‘St. Jerome’ for the notaries’ Guild of Siena,” Burlington Magazine 154 (2012), p. 472, ill.

Gabriele Fattorini in Carl Brandon Strehlke and Machtelt Brüggen Israëls, The Bernard and Mary Berenson Collection of European Paintings at I Tatti (Milan, 2015), pp. 433, 436, 437.

Ownership History

Placidi altarpiece, Chapel of Saint Jerome, Church of San Domenico, Siena, from 1476 until the dismemberment of the altarpiece sometime between 1784 and 1803 [Trimpi 1983 identified this painting, The Dream of Saint Jerome (1933.1018), and The Crucifixion, now in a private collection, as from the predella of the altarpiece on the basis of Mons. Francesco Bossio, Visita apostolica (1575), Siena, Archivio Arcivescovile, MS. 21, fol. 678r–678v and an August 23, 1803 inventory of pictures from San Domenico in the Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, Archivio di Stato Biccherna 1089, fol. 459r–460v]. Possibly removed to Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, by 1803 [according to Trimpi 1983, who cites the inventory referenced above]. Adelbert Wellington, third Earl Brownlow (d. 1921), Ashridge Park, Berkhamsted, by 1904 [according to the London 1904 exhibition catalogue], sold as a pair with 1933.1018, Christie’s London, May 4, 1923, no. 26 (ill.), as Benvenuto di Giovanni, to Colnaghi for £850 [according to an annotated copy of the sale catalogue at Christie’s, London]; sold by Colnaghi to Martin A. Ryerson (d. 1932), Chicago, 1925 [according to Colnaghi’s invoice, Ryerson papers, Art Institute archives]; on loan to the Art Institute from 1925; bequeathed to the Art Institute, 1933.

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