Panel paintings: The Stefaneschi Altarpiece
by GIOTTO

Only a few years after the creation of the Florentine Maestŕ, Cardinal Jacopo Stefaneschi placed the commission for a large altarpiece with Giotto. Stefaneschi, who came from a very respected Roman family, may have heard of the magnificence of the Ognissanti Madonna and so have become aware of the Florentine artist. He may also have been informed of Giotto's abilities by his distant relative Enrico Scrovegni; besides which, he was most likely familiar with the frescoes at Assisi, for the election of a pope, at which Stefaneschi was present, had taken place in Perugia, which is very close to Assisi. At the time at which Giotto was given the commission, probably in 1313, the papal seat, and therefore the residence of the cardinals, was no longer in Italy, but in Avignon in France. This remained the case until 1376, although the Roman cardinals in particular were fighting for a return from "exile" to their traditional seat in Rome. Because of this situation, the donation of an altarpiece which was to be installed in the most important papal church of St. Peter's in Rome, the building that preceded the current St. Peter's, takes on a political significance. His donation underlines the determination of Stefaneschi and of the other Roman cardinals to return, and expresses his concern about the memorial church of St. Peter.

The triptych, painted on both sides, is currently housed in the Pinacoteca at the Vatican. According to the findings of the latest research, it probably originally stood in the old cathedral of St. Peter's on the canon's altar in front of the southern triumphal arch wall.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 3 minutes):
Guillaume Dufay: Hymn for the feast of Sts Peter and Paul


Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
The Stefaneschi Triptych (recto)
c. 1330
Tempera on panel, 220 x 245 cm
Pinacoteca, Vatican

898*800
True Color
164 Kb



The Stefaneschi Triptych: Christ Enthroned
c. 1330
Tempera on panel
Pinacoteca, Vatican

650*1279
True Color
185 Kb



The Stefaneschi Triptych: Martyrdom of Peter
c. 1330
Tempera on panel
Pinacoteca, Vatican

867*1001
True Color
159 Kb



The Stefaneschi Triptych: Martyrdom of St Paul
c. 1330
Tempera on panel
Pinacoteca, Vatican

650*1276
True Color
150 Kb



The Stefaneschi Triptych (verso)
c. 1330
Tempera on panel, 220 x 245 cm
Pinacoteca, Vatican

1022*700
True Color
164 Kb



The Stefaneschi Triptych: St Peter Enthroned
c. 1330
Tempera on panel
Pinacoteca, Vatican

650*1258
True Color
194 Kb



The Stefaneschi Triptych: St Peter Enthroned (detail)
c. 1330
Tempera on panel
Pinacoteca, Vatican

820*966
True Color
186 Kb




Summary of paintings by Giotto
Frescoes in San Francesco, Assisi
Upper Church: Legend of St Francis | New Testament scenes | Lower Church
Frescoes in Arena Chapel, Padua
Life of Joachim | Life of Virgin | Life of Christ | Angels | Heads
Last Judgment | Heads
Vault frescoes | Virtues and Vices | Decorative elements
Frescoes in Santa Croce, Florence
Frescoes in Peruzzi Chapel | Frescoes in Bardi Chapel
Panel paintings
Crucifix | Maestŕ and others | Polyptych panels | Srefaneschi Altarpiece | Baroncelli Polyptych
Miscellaneous works
Navicella mosaic | Campanile of the Florence Cathedral