Feeding the hungry

Plaster Cast
ca. 1890 (cast), 16th century (sculpted)
Feeding the hungry thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Cast Courts, Room 46b, The Weston Cast Court
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

These three scenes (Museum nos. REPRO. 1890-88 to 90) are copies of those in a hospital founded in the 13th century in Pistoia in Tuscany to provide succour to the poor. The beardless central figure in the first two scenes is thought to be Leonardo di Giovanni Buonafede (d.1545), who in 1512 commissioned the loggia where the frieze is installed, and who became governor of the hospital in 1522. The frieze itself is in fact dated several decades later, 1585, some nine years after the death of the first artist who carried out the work, Santi Buglioni. Between 1584 and 1586 payments were recorded to a local painter, Filippo di Lorenzo Paladini, to finish the work. The third scene, Giving Drink to the Thirsty, which differs technically and stylistically from the other scenes, may be by Paladini, and the bearded central protagonist seen there could represent the later governor of the hospital, Bartolommeo Montechiari. The sculptures are unusual in their use of colour, and complement the elegant renaissance architecture of the building.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Plaster cast
Brief Description
Plaster cast relief, section from a frieze depicting Feedig the hungry, after a marble original ascribed to Santi Buglioni and Filippo di Lorenzo Paladini, cast ca. 1890
Physical Description
Plaster cast, one of three portions from the loggia of the Ospedale del Ceppo, Pistoia, ascribed to Santi Buglioni and Filippo Di Lorenzo Paladini. The cast represents a scene from a frieze illustrating seven deeds of Mercy, in this case, giving food to the hungry.
Dimensions
  • Height: 1.4m
  • Width: 4.88m
Object history
Purchased from the École Nationale et Speciale des Beaux Arts in 1890 for 1890-88 to 90 for £162 7s 7d (1575 francs)
Historical context
These casts (museum nos. 1890-88 to 90) represent three scenes from a frieze illustrating seven deeds of Mercy:- Feeding the hungry, after original of glazed terracotta; Visiting the sick, after original of glazed terracotta; Giving drink to the thirsty, after original of painted stucco.



When the casts were purchased, the original frieze was thought to be the work of Giovanni della Robbia (1469-1529/30). In 1902, Marquand attributed the main part of the frieze to the Florentine Santi Buglioni on stylistic grounds, citing payments to this sculptor between 1526 and 1528 "probably" for the frieze. He identified the beardless central figure in the first two scenes as Leonardo di Giovanni Buonafede (d. 1545), who commissioned the loggia on which the frieze sits in 1512, and became governor of the hospital in 1522. The frieze is dated 1585, some nine years after Santi Buglioni's death. Between 1584 and 1586, payments are recorded to a local painter, Filippo di Lorenzo Paladini, for finishing the frieze "in the time of Bartolommeo Montechiari". The scene Giving Drink to the Thirsty, which differs technically and stylistically from the rest of the frieze, may be the work of Filippo di Lorenzo Paladini, and the bearded central protagonist may represent the governor Bartolommeo Montechiari.
Summary
These three scenes (Museum nos. REPRO. 1890-88 to 90) are copies of those in a hospital founded in the 13th century in Pistoia in Tuscany to provide succour to the poor. The beardless central figure in the first two scenes is thought to be Leonardo di Giovanni Buonafede (d.1545), who in 1512 commissioned the loggia where the frieze is installed, and who became governor of the hospital in 1522. The frieze itself is in fact dated several decades later, 1585, some nine years after the death of the first artist who carried out the work, Santi Buglioni. Between 1584 and 1586 payments were recorded to a local painter, Filippo di Lorenzo Paladini, to finish the work. The third scene, Giving Drink to the Thirsty, which differs technically and stylistically from the other scenes, may be by Paladini, and the bearded central protagonist seen there could represent the later governor of the hospital, Bartolommeo Montechiari. The sculptures are unusual in their use of colour, and complement the elegant renaissance architecture of the building.
Associated Objects
Collection
Accession Number
REPRO.1890-88

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record createdDecember 7, 1999
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