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An old man in a grey habit, cheeks sunken and toothless mouth drawn down, clasps his hands in prayer. This is Bernardino of Siena, the most famous and charismatic Italian preacher of the early fifteenth century. On his chest is a red medallion with gold lettering; it reads ‘IHS’, the monogram of the name of Jesus, to which Bernardino encouraged devotion.
This is one of the earliest paintings in our collection that is based on an identifiable person, although it was not made until after Bernardino’s death. The preacher was well known in Padua; Schiavone possibly even saw him, as Bernardino was said to have visited the artist’s teacher, Squarcione.
probably about 1456-61
Tempera on wood
H 72 x W 25.2 cm