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Kress Collection

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Neri di Bicci

(Florence, Italy, 1418 - January 4, 1492, Florence, Italy)

Predella Panel: The Martyrdom of St. Apollonia, c. 1458-1459
Tempera on panel
8 5/16 x 20 1/2 in. (21.11 x 52.07 cm)

Creation Place: Europe, Italian
Technique: Painting
Credit Line: Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961
Accession Number: P61.1.7

Commentary
The Martyrdom of Saint Apollonia depicts an actual event that took place in the year 249. Apollonia, refusing to renounce Christanity, was martyred during the reign of the Emperor Philip. Under a colonnaded portico, one executioner pulls the Virgin Martyr backward by her hair as another tears out her tongue with pincers. The Emperor and his armed guards look on at the right of the scene, and two more armed soldiers stand to the left. In the background is a rugged and mountainous landscape.

This is a predella panel for a larger altarpiece which would have had multiple scenes from St. Apollonia's life. Alone, this does not have context. There is a Benedictine Convent for St. Apollonia in Florence. Was this painted for that convent? (Eve Straussman-Pflanzer, Curator of Italian and Spanish Paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington, September 29, 2022)

Related Objects
A box of Xrays of the Kress Collection is on Shelf G in the Vault (6/5/2018).

Provenance
Samuel Kress Collection (K1003) 1936. On loan to the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. 1939-1961. Donated by the Kress Foundation to Pomona College in 1961.

Bibliography
National Gallery of Art, Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture (Washington D.C., 1941).

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Dimensions
  • Sight Dimensions: 8 5/16 x 20 1/2 in. (21.11 x 52.07 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen
  • Frame Dimensions: 13 1/4 x 25 5/16 in. (33.66 x 64.29 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen

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For further inquiries, contact Associate Director/Registrar Steve Comba at steven.comba@pomona.edu.