Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Saint Bartholomew with His Flayed Skin



According to the legend, Bartholomew was first flayed then beheaded because the Apostle refused to worship idols. Consequently, already beginning with the 14th century, many of the portrayals of the Saint show him as holding his own flayed skin. Matteo di Giovanni, however, was not content with the type of representation customary in Tuscany, holding his skin in hand but smartly dressed. He preferred to follow an old Umbrian iconographic tradition and to portray the already flayed Apostle as an athletic nude wearing his skin elegantly as a stole over his shoulder.

The painting to the right was earlier attributed to Antonio del Pollaiolo.

about 1480
Tempera on wood, 80,5 x 48 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

MATTEO di Giovanni
(b. ca. 1430, Borgo San Sepolcro, d. 1495, Siena)
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the painting to the left is a Detail of Michelangelo's "The Last Judgement" (Sistine Chapel), executed 1535-1541.

Saint Bartholomew holding the knife of his martyrdom and his flayed skin. The face of the skin is Michelangelo's.