15th – 16th Century (?)
cm. 96 x 119,5
The wooden support is three pieces tied together with the middle one slightly bent there are lesions in the pictorial surface along the points of juncture. On the surface there are small holes caused by microorganisms and the color is missing in many places on the work. One can notice a possible cut on the upper part and the left side.
The work shows Saints Lawrence and Stephen (Lorenzo and Stefano) in the forefront identified by the instruments of their martyrdoms: Lorenzo on the grill and Stefano with stones. Both the objects are held in the left hand and the saints hold palms (symbol of martyrdom) in their right hands.
Both wear a white tunic and red Dalmatic with gilded decorations and different colored collars. Their heads are topped by gilded halos. The figures are static and they look at the observer with melancholy. Behind them is a mountain landscape with thick vegetation and a limpid sky with layers of clouds.
The work is set in a gilded frame with decorations on the internal part. Recently it has been studied with infrared cameras under the direction of Elisa Valentini and Prof. Simona Rinaldi (head of Museology and the history of collecting at the University of Tuscia). From the report we know that the work was previously attributed to Antoniazzo Romano, an artist active between 1460 and 1510. This attribution is rebutted by the studies because of the difference in the technique of execution. Elisa Valentini believes that it is a modern work. The results have also shown the artist’s change of mind while painting the collar of Santo Stefano. There is a document from 1599 found by Giuseppe Signorelli concerning a work with the figures of saints Lorenzo and Stefano, which says the work was in the chapel of saints Ilario and Valentino. This possible hypothesis of identification of the work conserved in the Museum with that of the 1599 document is interesting but the proofs available are not enough for a certain identification.
– Elisa Valentini, Scheda conservativa santo Stefano e san Lorenzo, 2007
(cattedra di museologia e collezionismo, prof.ssa S.Rinaldi)
– Archivio Diocesano di Viterbo, G.Signorelli, Le chiese di Viterbo, Città ANNO p.160
– Archivio Diocesano di Viterbo, Decreti Capitolari, foglio 86.