Jacopo Bassano

Oil on canvas
Museo Civico, Bassano del Grappa, Italy

At the top of the painting the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist pose as in the Deësis, asking Christ for mercy on the human race. Ranged on their left, right, and below are a multitude of saints.

Only some of the saints can be identified. To the left of Mary's back a man carries a full-size cross, an attribute of St. Andrew. In the lower right corner St. Anthony Abbot reads from a large tome. St. Martin of Tours stands at his side in knightly armor and holding the cape that he shared with the beggar. Bassano paired these two in at least two other paintings, apparently to exemplify the active and contemplative lives.1 Above them the man in the white Cistercian habit is probably St. Bernard of Clairvaux. In the lower left corner two nuns gaze upon a crucifix. They wear what appear to be the habit of the Discalced Carmelites, so one of them could perhaps be St. Teresa of Ávila. On their left, holding the veil with Jesus's face, is St. Veronica. Above and slightly to the left of her is St. Catherine of Alexandria with her wheel. Above and to her left are St. Jerome and St. Augustine, the former wearing his red cardinal's garb and the latter his pontificals.

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Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

1 See this page for the other Bassanos pairing Anthony and Martin with a note on the active and contemplative lives.