Four Saints (Anthony Abbott, Roch, Peter and Anthony of Padua)
Italian (Sienese School), active 1450-1516/17
tempera painting on four carved wood panels
Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation
The student of Matteo di Giovanni (whose artwork is also in the CMA collection), Guidoccio Cozzarelli was both a painter and an illuminator of manuscripts. This set of four panels, though displayed horizontally now, may have been originally displayed vertically in an altarpiece. The four saints depicted may not be familiar to most modern viewers, but Cozzarelli included iconographic clues to identify them. St. Anthony Abbot, dressed in a monk’s habit and clutching a cane that refers to his long and pious life, was a wealthy Egyptian who gave up his family’s riches to devote his life to Christ. He is now thought of as the father of Christian monasticism. St. Roch, the patron saint of plague victims, is recognized by his traveler’s clothes and exposed leg on which can be seen the faint traces of plague sores. St. Peter, the Apostle and father of the Catholic Church, holds the Gospel and the keys to heaven, making him the most easy to identify. Anthony of Padua, a Franciscan, would be easy to mistake for St. Francis himself if not for one difference – St. Francis is usually depicted with the wounds of Christ on his hands and feet (called the Stigmata), but St. Anthony of Padua lacks this feature.