The Crucifixion
(Andrea di Buonaiuto)


ANDREA DI BONAIUTO called Andrea Da Firenze
(Florence fl. 1343 – 1379)

The Crucifixion

Tempera and gold on panel
27.5 x 11 cm (10.83 x 4.33 ins)

This jewel-like, perfectly preserved Crucifixion is an exceedingly rare surviving work on panel by the Florentine trecento fresco painter Andrea Bonaiuto (also known as Andrea da Firenze). From January 1346, Andrea di Bonaiuto was registered in the Arte dei Medici e Speziali in Florence and the earliest painted works on panel that can be attributed to him suggest that he must have formed a close association with the workshop of Andrea di Cione. Among these earlier works are the small portable triptych of the Virgin and Child with Saints and Angels, of which the centre panel survives in Copenhagen at the Statens Museum for Kunst and the side panels of the Nativity and the Crucifixion, in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. According to Miklós Boskovits, the style of the triptych is informed by the work of Maso di Banco, as well as by the painter of the Strozzi Chapel frescoes in the Chiostrino dei Morti, S Maria Novella, Florence. The punching bordering the Houston laterals is extremely close in type to that on the present panel which would appear to date from shortly after the same moment. The punching on the halos, however, is also close to the refined punching in the halos of a crucifixion on the Pinacoteca Vaticana. The bold contour outlines are also typical of the artist and may be compared to his polyptych in Sta. Maria del Carmine, Florence while the composition, in generic terms, follows that of the artist’s Passion fresco in Sta. Maria Novella. No signed, dated or documented panel painting by the artist survives.

Andrea Bonaiuto (also known as Andrea da Firenze) is chiefly celebrated for his frescoes in the Spanish Chapel of Sta Maria Novella, Florence (1365-68), which was a Dominican church and the frescoes, illustrating the Triumph of the Faith, in their severity and their meticulous detail, rank among the most impressive records of Dominican art and thought produced in late medieval Italy. He also undertook fresco decorations for the church’s chapter house and a full-scale cartoon for the stained-glass window decoration of the façade is also attributed to him.

Although he was acquainted with Giotto’s innovations in modelling and spatial depth, as should be obvious form the surviving small triptych panels, Andrea was also strongly influenced by the linear, hieratic art of his Florentine contemporary Andrea Orcagna, and most of his fresco works display the rigid compositions and immobile faces associated with the Byzantine tradition. Andrea is last recorded in 1377 working on frescoes of the Life of St. Ranieri in the Campo Santo at Pisa, and the three upper panels of this mural project are attributed to him.

Although this small panel may possibly have been conceived as a stand alone devotional object it seems more likely that it once formed the right hand wing of an unknown triptych and the type may be compared to a damaged triptych formerly in a Private Collection, Bologna. This panel is of noticeably higher quality than surviving crucifixions in a Private Collection, Aranno or the Boymans Museum, Rotterdam.

The attribution has been confirmed by Prof. Miklós Boskovits.

For a complete analysis of the artist’s work see J.Tripps, Tendencies of Gothic in Florence: Andrea Bonaiuto, Florence 1996.
For an in-depth discussion of the artist’s Santa Maria Novella frescos, see: J. Polzer, ‘Andrea di Bonaiuto’s Via Veritatis and Dominican thought in late medieval Italy’, in The Art Bulletin, Vol. 77, No. 2, June 1995, pp. 262-289.

37.5 x 11 cm
Oil on panel

Private collection



Historical Period
Gothic to Early Renaissance - 1300-1450
Religious: New Testament
Italian - Tuscan
Price band
$250,000 - $350,000