MASTER OF THE OSSERVANZA
(active 1430-1450 in Siena)

Biography

Italian painter. Longhi recognized that two triptychs, formerly attributed to Sassetta, were the work of another hand. The Virgin and Child with SS Jerome and Ambrose (Siena, Osservanza) and the Birth of the Virgin (Asciano, Museo d'Arte Sacra), formerly in the Collegiata, Asciano, both have a stylistic affinity with Sassetta's works but, in terms of narrative expression, still belong to the Late Gothic tradition. Longhi observed that a further group of paintings was closely related to these works. This included the predella of the Osservanza Altarpiece (Siena, Pinacoteca Nazionale), a predella of St Bartholomew (Siena, Pinacoteca Nazionale), scenes of the Passion (Rome, Pinacoteca Vaticana; Philadelphia, Museum of Art; Cambridge, Fogg Museum) and the scenes from the Life of St Anthony Abbot (dispersed; e.g. panels in Washington, National Gallery of Art; New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Wiesbaden, Museum Wiesbaden) previously also attributed to Sassetta. These last panels are difficult to integrate into the group. The full-length painting of St Anthony Abbot (Paris, Louvre), which scholars have attempted to integrate with the small scenes from the saint's life into a multipartite altarpiece, seems to come from another altarpiece.