Key to Umbria

Bicci di Lorenzo

The Florentine Bicci di Lorenzo trained in the workshop of his father, Lorenzo di Bicci, and was registered in the Guild of Painters at Florence in 1424.  According to Giorgio Vasari,  he painted a series of frescoes of “Uomini Famosi” (famous men) for the the so-called “old house” of the Medici family, but these do not survive. 


Sant’ Agnese Triptych  (1430s)

This triptych, which is attributed to Bicci di Lorenzo, came from the nunnery of Sant' Agnese and was probably commissioned shortly after 1429, when Sant' Agnese passed to a community of Franciscan tertiaries.  The triptych was transferred to the Academia di Belle Arte in 1810 and is now in the Galleria Nazionale (Room 7).
  1. The central pane depicts the mystic marriage of St Catherine of Alexandria:

  2. the Madonna and Child float on a cloud;

  3. St Catherine (with her wheel) stands to the right, accepting a ring from the baby Jesus;

  4. the titular of the nunnery, St Agnes stands to  the left, holding the Lamb of God; and

  5. St Elizabeth of Hungary kneels below, crowned and carrying roses. 

  6. The side panels depict:

  7. SS Antony of Padua (with the flames of his eloquence in his hand), Louis of Toulouse and John the Evangelist in the right panel; and

  8. SS Herculanus, Constantius and Laurence (with his grill) in the left panel.

  9. The panels in the upper register depict:

  10. the stigmatisation of St Francis on the left;

  11. the Annunciation, in the spandrels of the centre panel; and

  12. SS Jerome, Onuphrius (Onofrio, Humphrey) and Paul the Hermit (who kneels in front of his cave) on the right.

  13. The predella panels depict:

  14. the risen Christ appearing to St Mary Magdalene and insisting “nole me tangere” (do not touch me);

  15. St Catherine rejecting the marriage proposal of the Emperor Maximin;

  16. St Elizabeth caring for the infirm; and

  17. the baptism of Christ. 

  18. The outer surfaces of the side panels depict:

  19. the obscure Beato Pavino del Bastone on the left; and

  20. St Ives (Sant’ Ivo di Bretagne) on the right.  [St Ives, who died in 1303, was a Franciscan tertiary from Kermartin, Brittany.  He trained as a lawyer and frequently defended people who were too poor to pay for legal advice.  He was canonised 1347.]

Neri di Bicci

Neri di Bicci trained in the workshop of his father, Bicci di Lorenzo, and took over the family workshop when his father died.  His journals from the years 1453-75, which are known as the Ricordanze, are still preserved in the library of the Uffizi Gallery.

Citta di Castello

Madonna and Child (15th century)

This altarpiece, which is attributed to Neri di Bicci, was documented in the nunnery of Santa Cecilia in Paradiso in 1868.  Its earlier provenance is unknown.  It is now in the Pinacoteca Comunale.


Madonna della Neve (ca. 1464)

The altarpiece, which is attributed to Neri di Bicci, came from the pieve of Abeto, near Norcia and is now in the Museo Diocesano, Spoleto.  Unfortunately, it is damaged and has been heavily repainted.

The altarpiece depicts the Virgin with St Sebastian and Pope Liberius.  Two angels at the bottom kneel before a Crucifix in a tabernacle.  The iconography of the Madonna of the snow relates to the vision of Pope Liberius in which the Madonna caused snow to fall in August on the site in Rome on which she wanted him to build Santa Maria Maggiore.  Pope Liberius is depicted pointing a plan of the church in the snow.

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Bicci di Lorenzo (died 1452) and

Neri di Bicci (1419–1491) 

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