The legend of the Four Crowned Martyrs refers to Christian sculptors working for the Emperor Diocletian (depicted on the left with crown and scepter) who refused his order to carve a statue of a pagan god. As punishment the emperor had the sculptors sealed alive in lead coffins and thrown into a river. This panel originally depicted the flowing river in the foreground, but was cut along the bottom edge at some unknown date. The painting is one of a series by Gerini depicting different episodes from the same legend. They were grouped together around a central panel that probably portrayed the Four Crowned Martyrs, and were all attached to a pier in Orsanmichele, Florence.
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- Titles The Execution of the Four Crowned Martyrs (Proper)
- Artist Niccolò di Pietro Gerini, Italy, Doc. in Florence 1368 - d. 1415
- Medium tempera on panel
- Dimensions 15 13/16 x 17 1/2 x 1 1/16 in. (40.2 x 44.5 x 2.7 cm) frame: 18 3/8 × 20 1/4 × 2 1/2 in. (46.7 × 51.4 × 6.4 cm)
- Credit Line Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961.119
- Work Type painting
- Classification Paintings
- On View
- Provenance Orsanmichele, Florence [see note 1]. With Count Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi (1878-1955), Florence; purchased by Samuel H. Kress (1863-1955), New York, July 17, 1939; on loan to the Birmingham Museum of Art, 1952; gift of the Kress Foundation to the Birmingham Museum of Art, 1961
1. As documented in Strehlke, Carl Brandon. Italian Paintings 1250-1450 in the John G. Johnson Collection and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art and Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004), 155-161. See also Zervas, Diane Finiello, ed. Orsanmichele a Firenze. 2 vols (Modena: Franco Cosimo Panini Editore, 1996), 1: 636.