Painter/Artist: Carlo Crivelli

Venetian School. A fellow pupil of Bartolommeo Vivarini under Antonio de Murano and Squarcione. A master of strong individuality.

LONDON, NATIONAL GALLERY

THE MADONNA DELLA RONDINE. A large altar-piece with predella panels, in its original frame, measuring 5 ft. x 31 ft., painted for the Odoni Chapel in the Church of Sta. Francesca at Matelica. The Madonna, wearing sumptuous robes and rich jewels, nurses the Child, who has an apple in His left hand and a coral charm round His neck. On the upper ledge of the throne a swallow is perched, and on the steps are festoons of fruit. On either side stand St. Jerome and St. Sebastian.

In the predella are pictures of St. Catherine, St. Jerome in the wilderness, the Nativity, the martyrdom of St. Sebastian, and St. George and the Dragon.

Inscribed CAROLUS CRIVELLUS VENETUS MILES PINXIT. Purchased from Conte Luigi de Sanctis at Matelica in 1862.

THE ANNUNCIATION On the right the Virgin is seen through an open door of a house decorated with elaborate architectural ornament kneeling at a desk. From a glory in the sky issues a golden ray towards the Virgin. In the open courtyard on the left the Angel Gabriel kneels at the window, his right hand raised and his left holding a lily, and by him the youthful St. Emidius, the patron saint of Ascoli, holding a model of the city. In an open loggia above the Virgin are a peacock and various other birds, and pots of flowers. At the top of some steps in the left middle distance is a small group of people and a child watching the event; through an archway at the back other figures are seen, and the city wall in the distance. In the foreground are a cucumber and an apple, and at the front of a step at the foot of the picture three shields of arms-on the left those of Prospero Cafferelli, Bishop of Ascoli; in the middle of Pope Innocent VIII.; and on the right of the city of Ascoli; between these the words LIBERTAS ECCLESIASTICA, commemorating Innocent’s charter to the city in 1824.

Painted for the Convent of the Annunciation, Ascoli. Inscribed OPUS CAROM CRIVELLI VENETI, 1486. Presented by Lord Taunton in 1864.

THE DEMIDOFF ALTAR-PIECE. Thirteen panels arranged in three tiers, measuring over their present frame 16 ft. by 10 ft.

Lower tier (five full-length figures on separate panels with arched tops): In the centre the Madonna with a richly jewelled crown seated on a marble throne, with the Child asleep in her lap. Inscribed below the throne: OPUS KAROLI CRIVELLI VENETI, 1476. On the left inner panel St. Peter in full pontifical attire, with a book and two keys in his left hand. On the outer panel the Baptist. On the right inner panel St. Catherine with wheel and palm branch. On the outer panel St. Dominic with a book and a lily in his left hand.

Middle tier (four half-length figures on separate panels), beginning from the left: St. Francis with the stigmata; St. Andrew with cross and book; St. Stephen; St. Thomas Aquinas with a book and a model of a church.

Upper tier (four small full-length figures on separate panels), beginning from the left: St. Jerome in Cardinal’s attire with a model of a church; St. Michael and the Dragon; St. Lucy with a palm branch and her eyes in a dish; St. Peter Martyr, his head cleft with a chopper and a sword through his breast.

The early history of this altar-piece is uncertain; in 1852 it was purchased by Prince Anatole de Demidoff, who erected it in the private chapel of his villa near Florence in its present frame.

Purchased in Paris in 1868.

( Originally Publihed 1910 )