Virgin and child with Saints Dominic, Peter Martyr, St John the Baptist, James the Greater

Virgin and child with Saints Dominic, Peter Martyr, St John the Baptist, James the Greater

Purchased from Messrs Salviati & Co in 1869 for £12 10s

Original:

The Virgin and Child with Saints Dominic, Peter Martyr, St John the Baptist, James the Greater, Christopher and Anthony Abbot
Niccolo Pizzolo (b. ? 1421-53) and Giovanni da Pisa (active 1444; d. about 1460)
1448-9
Terracotta with traces of paint and gilding
Ovetari Chapel in the church of the Eremitani, Padua, Italy

This altarpiece was damaged when the Eremitani was bombed during the war, and is now better preserved in the cast than in the original. In 1443, Antonio Ovetari left 700 ducats in his will for the decoration of his chapel. This sum was divided equally between four painters: Giovanni d'Alemagna (d. 1450) working in partnership with Antonio Vivarini (active 1440, d. between 1476/84) and Niccolo Pizzolo working with Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506). An arbitration of 7 September, 1449 states that 'master Niccolo alone is to make and complete, decorate and gild the altarpiece together with a specified portion of the frescoes, making it clear that of the four painters, Niccolo along was responsible for the execution of the altar. On 8 July 1448, Giovanni da Pisa paid L68 8s for work on the altarpiece. As Giovanni da Pisa was a sculptor, who, together with Niccolo Pizzolo, had assisted Donatello (1386-1466) in the execution of the High altar for the Santo, it seems probable that he assisted in the production of the terracotta relief for the Ovetari altarpiece, while Niccolo Pizzolo would have been responsible for its design together with the painted decoration and gilding.