St. Augustine’s cope (mantle) was originally covered entirely in silver, which has flaked away over time. The red that we see today is bole, the clay-like pigment used as a base for silver and gold leaf. It is important to realize that with the silver leaf decoration this painting would have shimmered in the church candlelight with a radiance that is almost difficult to imagine today.
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- Titles Saint Augustine (Proper)
- Artist Ansano di Pietro di Mencio, called Sano di Pietro, Italy, Siena 1405-1481 Siena
- Medium tempera on panel
- Dimensions 46 1/2 x 16 1/8 in. (118.1 x 41 cm) frame: 54 3/4 × 23 × 3 1/2 in. (139.1 × 58.4 × 8.9 cm)
- Credit Line Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961.92
- Work Type painting
- Classification Paintings
- On View
- Provenance With Ehrich Galleries, New York; with Anderson Galleries, New York, Original Paintings by Old Masters from the Collection of The Ehrich Galleries, November 12, 1924, no. 41; purchased by J. Kleinberger [see note 1]. With Leggatt Brothers, London; auctioned by Christie, Manson & Woods, London, Catalogue of Old Pictures. The Property of the late The Rt. Hon. Lord Acton, Sir Miles Stapleton, Bart. Also Old Pictures and Drawings from Various Sources, April 26, 1929, no. 30 [see note 2]; with Giuseppe Bellesi, London [see note 3]. With Count Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi (1878-1955), Florence [see note 4]; purchased by Samuel H. Kress (1863-1955), New York, July 16, 1930; gift to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1939, deaccessioned, 1952; returned to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation; on loan to the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama,1952; gift of the Kress Foundation to the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama,1961
1. According to a hand-written annotation in sale catalogue. See object file.
2. Leggatt Brothers were the sellers at the 1929 auction, according to annotated auctioneer catalogue, Christie's Archives, London.
3. According to a letter dated July 11, 1936 from Sir Robert Witt to Samuel H. Kress. See object file.
4. Fern Rusk Shapley, Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, Italian Schools XIII-XV Century (London: Phaidon Press, 1966), p. 147.