About This Artwork

Lo Spagna (Giovanni di Pietro)
Italian, active 1504–28

Saint Catherine of Siena, 1510/15

Tempera and oil on panel
107.8 x 50.3 cm (42 1/2 x 19 3/4 in.)
Painted surface: 103.8 x 49 cm (40 7/8 x 19 1/4 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1937.1008

A gifted follower of Perugino, Lo Spagna expanded on the master’s calm style in numerous works made for Perugia and the surrounding region of Umbria. This panel represents Catherine Benincasa of Siena (1347–1380), who was one of the major religious figures and most influential women of the late Middle Ages. Affiliated with the Dominican order, she was renowned for her devotion to the poor and sick, as well as for her mystical visions. In one such vision, she saw herself marked with Christ’s wounds from his crucifixion, known as the stigmata. These marks are faintly visible on the backs of her hands in the present work and serve to identify her.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

London, Burlington Fine Arts Club, A Collection of Pictures of the Umbrian School, 1910, no. 38.

Art Institute of Chicago, A Century of Progress, 1933, no. 119.

Publication History

Edward W. Gregory, “Earl Brownlow’s Collection of Pictures at Ashridge Park,” Connoisseur 13, 53 (1906), pp. 4–7, ill.

Bernard Berenson, The Central Italian Painters of the Renaissance, 2d ed. (New York and London, 1909), p. 253.

Phillips, Daily Telegraph (December 7, 1909).

Umberto Gnoli, “La pittura Umbra alla Mostra di Burlington Club,” Rassegna d’arte umbra 1 (1910), pp. 52–53.

E. Harter, “Sei quadri dello Spagna,” Rassegna d’arte 14 (1914), pp. 59–60, ill.

H. G. T. Cannons, ed., Art Prices Current: 1922–1923 (London, 1923), p. 205, no. 4422.

Umberto Gnoli, Pittori e miniatori nell’Umbria (Spoleto, 1923), pp. 165–66.

Art Institute of Chicago, A Guide to the Paintings in the Permanent Collection (Chicago, 1925), p. 160, no. 2077.

Bernard Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance (Oxford, 1932), p. 544.

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

Raimond van Marle, The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting, vol. 14 (The Hague, 1933), pp. 458–60, fig. 297, p. 463.

Bernard Berenson, Pitture italiane del Rinascimento (Milan, 1936), p. 467.

F. Mason Perkins in Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker, Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart, vol. 31 (Leipzig, 1937), p. 323.

Kate Lancaster Brewster, “The Ryerson Gift to The Art Institute of Chicago,” Magazine of Art 31, 2 (1938), p. 97.

“Exhibition of the Ryerson Gift,” Art Institute of Chicago Bulletin 32 (1938), p. 3, ill.

Emmanuel Bénézit, Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs de tous les temps et de tous les pays, 2d ed., vol. 8 (Paris, 1960), p. 41.

Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings in The Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Picture Collection (Chicago, 1961), p. 422.

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

Bernard Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Central Italian and North Italian Schools, vol. 1 (London, 1968), p. 412.

John Maxon, The Art Institute of Chicago (New York, 1970), pp. 253, 283, ill.

Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1972), pp. 191, 386, 571.

Dizionario enciclopedio Bolaffi dei pittori e degli incisori italiani, dall’XI al XX secolo vol. 10 (Turin, 1975), p. 386.

Emmanuel Bénézit, Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs, et graveurs de tous les temps et de tous les pays, 3d ed., vol. 9 (Paris, 1976), p. 732.

M. Levi d’Ancona, The Garden of the Renaissance: Botanical Symbolism in Italian Painting (Florence, 1977), p. 129, under no. 90.

John Fleming, “Art Dealing in the Risorgimento, III,” Burlington Magazine 121 (1979), p. 500 n. 57.

Fausta Gualdi Sabatini, Giovanni di Pietro detto Lo Spagna (Spoleto, 1984), vol. 1, pp. 57, 168, 193–94, no. 39, p. 195, under no. 41, vol. 2, pl. 73.

Lidia Bianchi and Diega Giunta, Iconografia di S. Caterina da Siena (Rome, 1988), pp. 380–81, no. 354.

Filippo Todini, La pittura umbra dal duecento al primo cinquecento vol. 1 (Milan, 1989), p. 313.

Christopher Lloyd, Italian Paintings before 1600 in the Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Collection (Chicago, 1993), pp. 219–21, ill.

Joseph Antenucci Becherer, Pietro Perugino: Master of the Italian Renaissance, exh. cat. (New York, 1997), p. 118.

Ownership History

Possibly William Blundell Spence, Florence, in 1857 and possibly sold by him to Lady Marianne Margaret Compton, Viscountess Alford (d. 1888), 1857 [Ellis Waterhouse suggested that it could have been the “St. Catherine by Pinturicchio” sold by Spence to Lady Marianne Margaret Compton and mentioned in a letter from Spence to Lady Waldegrave dated April 14, 1857, Strachie MSS DD/SH 285 WW 52/1, Somerset Record Office, Taunton, according to Fleming 1979]. Adelbert Wellington Brownlow Cust, third Earl Brownlow (d. 1921), Ashridge Park, Berkhamsted [he may have inherited it from his mother, Lady Marianne Margaret Compton, Viscountess Alford if it was the picture referred to above; it was certainly in Brownlow’s possession by 1906, see Gregory 1906]; sold by his executors, Christie’s, London, May 4, 1923, no. 50 (ill.), to Agnew’s for ₤924 [according to Cannons 1923]; sold by Agnew’s, London, to Martin A. Ryerson (d. 1932), Chicago, 1923 [according to Agnew’s invoice, Art Institute archives]; intermittently on loan to the Art Institute from 1924; at Ryerson’s death to his widow (d. 1937); bequeathed to the Art Institute, 1937.




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