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Record Image
Casentino, Jacopo del (Italian, b.1297, d.Circa 1349), Artist
Two Wings from a Triptych: (The Crucifixion (left panel) ; St Michael and St Francis (right panel)
Circa 1340-1350
tempera and gold on wood
370 x 100 mm left panel; 380 x 110 mm mm right panel; 580 x 460 x 45 mm frame size
Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Given 1982 by Mary, Dora and Esmond de Beer through the National Art Collections Fund, London.
The oldest painting in the Gallery’s collection, these two ‘wings’, now mounted and framed together, were originally part of a three-piece portable altar. The central panel, which may have depicted a subject such as the Madonna and Child, became separated from the other sections many years ago.
Jacopo del Casentino’s most engaging work is found in small-scale scenes such as these and although he painted larger pictures, he is classified by art historians as typically belonging to the Florentine school with a ‘miniaturist tendency’. Stylistically his work is connected to that of the so-called St Cecilia Master; and his figures, in their gestures and expression, show the influence of the famous Florentine artist Giotto.
Of all of the scenes, the one on the lower right panel probably seems the most curious to a modern viewer. It shows St Francis of Assisi receiving the stigmata – the wounds corresponding to those received by Christ on the cross. Francis, one of the most well-known Christian saints, reputedly lived from 1182 to 1226. Born into a wealthy family, he renounced his former life after a series of revelations from God. His brown earth–coloured habit is a symbol of his humility, an association implied in the Latin word for earth, which is humus.
The saint’s life was the subject of a famous series of frescoes, executed by Giotto in the Upper Church at Assisi at the end of the 13th century. Badly damaged by an earthquake in 1997, they were subsequently restored.

on view in the exhibition

Hurahia ana kā Whetū : Unveiling the Stars
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