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Artist: Spinello Aretino, Luca 1 of 1

Saint Christopher with the Child and Sts. Anthony, Catherine and Lucy, late 14th century

Luca Spinello Aretino

Italian, c.1350-1410
Tempera and gold leaf on panel
8 x 13-1/4 in. (20.3 x 33.7 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
F.1965.1.062.P
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

A native of Arezzo in the region of Tuscany, Spinello was likely born in the mid-fourteenth century. He is recorded as working in Lucca, Pisa and Siena in addition to his birthplace, and the fact that he received numerous commissions shows that his artistic skills were clearly valued. In Florence he worked on an important polyptych for the Church of Santa Felicità, one of the oldest early Christian churches in the city.

Spinello’s characterization of each of the four saints here is both lively and specific to their personalities. The striding motion of Christopher, patron saint of travelers, who digs his staff into a stream—cleverly indicated by flowing lines of white pigment—conveys a physicality distinct from the self-contained and static pose of the elderly Anthony the Abbot, the founder of monasticism. A similar individualization characterizes the two female saints: Catherine, who stands on a wheel, the symbol of her martyrdom, and the martyred Lucy, whose name means “light.”

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Artist: Spinello Aretino, Luca 1 of 1