© University of Oxford - Ashmolean Museum
The figures stand beneath two ruined domes. Saint John the Baptist stands on a small stone pedestal in the centre. On the left, Saint Peter holds a book and his keys, Saint Mark what appears to be a large, closed book.On the right, stand Saint Jerome, an old man with a long white beard, and Saint Paul, balding but with a long, dark beard.
Cook and Wedderburn (vol. XXI, p. 16, n. 4) identify this as a picture in the church of the Madonna dell'Orto in Venice, although the inscription on the back of the mount implies that it was in the Accademia when the photograph was taken. The altarpiece was painted at some point in the period c.1493 and c.1495 by Cima da Conegliano.
Ruskin included this photograph in the Teaching Collection from the very beginning, listing it as no. 8 in the Standard Series in the "Catalogue of Examples" of 1870, where he described it as 'An example of perfect delineation by the school of colour.' In "Lectures on Art" (§ 150 = XX.141) the picture again represented the 'colour school', and demonstrated Cima's intense faith, and joy in the natural world - in particular, Ruskin mentioned 'the wild strawberry of Cima's native mountains' (in Friuli) in the foreground - to which he also drew attention in his inscription on the mount. He also included a copy of a spray of the oak tree as No. 12 in the Educational Series of the "Catalogue of Examples" (now Educational Series no. 20), and drew attention to the variety of the plants - oak, fig, ivy-leaved toadflax (his 'Erba della Madonna'), ivy and the strawberry - and the care with which they were depicted in "Modern Painters" (vol. I, pt ii, sec.1, ch. 7, § 9 = III.175), where the picture served as one example of the accuracy of early Italian renaissance depictions of natural details.
Presented by John Ruskin to the Ruskin Drawing School (University of Oxford), 1875; transferred from the Ruskin Drawing School to the Ashmolean Museum, c.1949.
Ruskin, John, Catalogue of Examples Arranged for Elementary Study in the University Galleries (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1870), cat. Standard no. 8
Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Reference Series Including Temporarily the First Section of the Standard Series (London: Smith, Elder, ), cat. Standard no. 8
Ruskin, John, ‘Modern Painters’, Edward T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, eds, The Works of John Ruskin: Library Edition, 39 (London: George Allen, 1903-1912), 3-7
Ruskin, John, ‘Lectures on Art: Delivered Before the University of Oxford in Hilary Term, 1870’, Edward T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, eds, The Works of John Ruskin: Library Edition, 39 (London: George Allen, 1903-1912), 20
Ruskin, John, ‘The Ruskin Art Collection at Oxford: Catalogues, Notes and Instructions’, Edward T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, eds, The Works of John Ruskin: Library Edition, 39 (London: George Allen, 1903-1912), 21, cat. Standard no. 8