Pedro García de Benabarre - Saint Michael Archangel, about 1470

Pedro García de Benabarre (active Catalonia, 1455 - 1480)

Saint Michael Archangel, about 1470

Tempera and gold on panel, 184 x 144 cm (72 7/16 x 56 11/16 in.) framed

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Object details

Accession number

P19s7

Provenance

Probably commissioned for the church San Juan del Mercado, Lérida, Spain around 1470.
Probably purchased by the Church of Benavente, Huesca, Spain from San Juan del Mercado in the 19th century.
Probably brought to Barcelona, with the whole altarpiece, by the art dealer Celestino Dupont (1860–1940) in 1907.
Perhaps purchased by G.J. Demotte, Paris from an unknown art dealer on 15 April 1916.
Paul J. Sachs (1878–1965), museum director, teacher, and art collector, purchased from G. J. Demotte, Paris in April 1916.
Isabella Stewart Gardner purchased from Paul J. Sachs, Cambridge on 15 June 1916 for $3,000.

Dimension Notes

Frame: 204 x 164 cm (80 3/16 x 64 1/2 in.)

Bibliography

Philip Hendy. Catalogue of Exhibited Paintings and Drawings (Boston, 1931), pp. 148-50.
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 162. (as about 1450)
Stuart Preston. "Saint Michael" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 36.
Ronald Hilton. Handbook of Hispanic Source Materials and Research Organizations in the United States (Stanford, California, 1956), p. 195.
“Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 7, no. 32 (5 Apr. 1964), p. 2.
Judith Berg Sobré. “A Catalan S. Michael.” Fenway Court (Apr. 1970), pp. 25-32, no. 1. (as after 1461)
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), pp. 93-95.
Eric Young. "Notes on Spanish Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum." Fenway Court (1979), pp. 24-35, fig. 4.
Judith Sobré and Lynette M. F. Bosch. The Artistic Splendor of the Spanish Kingdoms: The Art of Fifteenth-Century Spain. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 1996), pp. 26-29, cat. 4.
Alan Chong and Giovanna De Appolonia. The Art of the Cross: Medieval and Renaissance Piety in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2001), p.20, fig. 6.
Alan Chong et al. (eds.) Eye of the Beholder: Masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 2003), pp. 154-55.
Alberto Velasco Gonzàlez. "Fragments d'un passat. Pere Garcia de Benavarri i el retaule de l'església de Sant Joan de Lleida." Quaderns 2 (2012).
Sally Anne Duncan and Andrew McClellan. The Art of Curating: Paul J. Sachs and the Museum Course at Harvard (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2018), pp. 18-19, fig. 11.


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Commentary

The archangel Michael, wearing a suit of studded armor, sits on a throne backed by an elaborate blue and gold brocade. In this painting, Michael simultaneously enacts his two principal roles: weigher of souls on Judgment Day and destroyer of Satan. On the left an angel embraces a soul, while on the right, Satan appears as a fantastic two-faced monster ready to capture another
soul. Michael positions his lance over the monster. This painting was originally a side panel of a large altarpiece dedicated to John the Baptist, installed in the church of Sant Joan del Mercat in Lleida, Catalonia.

Source: Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 155.

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