Badia Polyptych

Badia Polyptych

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The Badia Polyptych is a painting by the Italian artist Giotto, painted around 1300 and housed in the Uffizi Gallery of Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....



Contemporary sources such as Lorenzo Ghiberti
Lorenzo Ghiberti
Lorenzo Ghiberti , born Lorenzo di Bartolo, was an Italian artist of the early Renaissance best known for works in sculpture and metalworking.-Early life:...

's Commentarii and Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari was an Italian painter, writer, historian, and architect, who is famous today for his biographies of Italian artists, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing.-Biography:...

's Lives agree in mentioning the presence of a polyptych by Giotto at the high altar in the Badia Fiorentina
Badia Fiorentina
The Badìa Fiorentina is an abbey and church now home to the Fraternity of Jerusalem situated on the Via del Proconsolo in the centre of Florence, Italy. Dante supposedly grew up across the street in what is now called the 'Casa di Dante', rebuilt in 1910 as a museum to Dante...

. However, the work is no more document for centuries, and was considered to be lost. In the 19th century, however, it was found in the archives of the Museum of Santa Croce of Florence, and identified thanks to a cartouche on it saying "Badia di Firenze", which was added in 1810. The dating of the work is disputed, ranging from the early 14th century to a period following Giotto's work in the Cappella degli Scrovegni
Cappella degli Scrovegni
The Scrovegni Chapel, or Cappella degli Scrovegni, also known as the Arena Chapel, is a church in Padua, Veneto, Italy. It contains a fresco cycle by Giotto, completed about 1305, that is one of the most important masterpieces of Western art. The church was dedicated to Santa Maria della Carità at...


The polyptych was restored in the 1958 and again, after escaping the 1966 Flood of the River Arno, in 2000.


The work is composed by four framed paintings with a triangular cusp, and portrays the busts of the Virgin (center) and, from the left, Sts. Nicholas of Bari, John the Evangelist, Pieter and Benedict, identified by their names below and their traditional attributes.

Giotto made an extensive use of chiaroscuro
Chiaroscuro in art is "an Italian term which literally means 'light-dark'. In paintings the description refers to clear tonal contrasts which are often used to suggest the volume and modelling of the subjects depicted"....

. Details include the rich garments and the crosier
A crosier is the stylized staff of office carried by high-ranking Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and some Lutheran and Pentecostal prelates...

 of St. Nicholas, the gesture of the Child grasping at his mother's neckline and St. Peter's stole. Similar details were used by Giotto also in Rimini Crucifix and the Stigmata of St. Francis
Stigmata of St. Francis (Giotto)
The Stigmata of St. Francis is a painting by the Italian artist Giotto, painted around 1295-1300 and housed in Musée du Louvre of Paris, France.-History:Giorgio Vasari mentions the work in a transept chapel of the church of San Francesco in Pisa...

, and have led to the 1300s dating.

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