(b. ca. 1280, Siena, d. 1348, Siena)

Predella panel: Hermits at the Fountain of Elijah

Tempera on wood
Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena

This painting formed a panel of the predella of the dismembered altarpiece in the Carmelite church San Niccolò al Carmine in Siena. The five scenes in the predella depict events in the history of the Carmelite Order: The Annunciation to Sobac, Hermits at the Fountain of Elijah, St Albert Presents the Rule to the Carmelites, The Pope Issues a Bull to a Carmelite Delegation, and The Approval of the New Carmelite Habit by Pope Honorius IV.

This scene of the predella refers in a general way to the hermitic life on Mount Carmel that lasted over a thousand years. It depicts a rocky landscape on Mount Carmel, in the foreground the well which according to tradition was opened up by Prophet Elijah. Scenes from the life of Carmelite hermits are represented both beside the well and the background. The hermits wear the striated Carmelite habit, modeled after the cloak of Elijah, scorched as he ascended heaven in a chariot of fire, and retrieved by his disciple Elisha.