Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

Pietro Nelliaround 1365



Catherine of Alexandria in the pink dress can be identified by her martyr’s attribute, the spiked wheel. The palm branch in her right hand also refers to her status as a martyr. The book and the lily symbolise wisdom and purity. The other female saint is less easily identified. She is thought to be St Dorothy, on account of the roses in the robe she is holding up. However, she cannot be St Dorothy, as she would have been holding a palm branch as a Christian martyr. And she would never have worn a crown. Elisabeth of Hungary is also depicted with roses in her robe sometimes, in reference to the legend in which her robe suddenly turned into roses following a reprimand from her father-in-law. But she was not a martyr, so does not need a palm branch, while the crown fits well with her situation. Both panels were part of a polyptych which may have been made by Pietro Nelli for a convent church. Both Catharine and Elizabeth were especially revered in convents, because of their virtuousness. The attribution of the two panels to Pietro Nelli is a fairly recent one. For a long time, they were attributed to Bernardo Daddi, a pupil of Giotto and possibly the master of Pietro Nelli.

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  • Title: Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
  • Creator: Pietro Nelli
  • Date: around 1365
  • Location Created: Florence
  • Physical Dimensions: 131 x 47 x 4,5 cm
  • Provenance: Loan Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. © Peter Cox/Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht
  • Medium: tempera and gold on panel