BARTOLOMEO DI GIOVANNI
(active 1480-1510 in Florence)
Predella: Baptism of Christ1488
Tempera on wood
Spedale degli Innocenti, Florence
In 1485 Domenico Ghirlandaio received the commission for the Adoration of the Magi for the main altar in the church of the Spedale degli Innocenti. The prior of the church, Tesori, also commissioned the predella with stories of the Virgin and the great cornice of the altarpiece. The latter had been executed by the carpenter Francesco Bartolo on designs by Giuliano da Sangallo, while the scenes of the predella are the work of one of Ghirlandaio's pupils, Bartolomeo di Giovanni; this is confirmed by the records and the workmanship of the fine, slender figures which are characteristic of him.
The predella, with the Martyrdom of St John the Evangelist, the Annunciation, the Marriage of the Virgin, the Deposition, the Presentation in the Temple, the Baptism of Christ, the Consecration of the Church of the Innocenti, had been dismembered at the time of the restoration of the great altar (1615). In the 19th century the seven panels were in the Sala delle Adunanze. Later they were reunited with the painting, which was now devoid of Sangallo's fine cornice that was destroyed in the restoration of 1786.
The picture shows one of the seven predella paintings.