• Old Master and British Paintin auction at Christies

    Sale 11973

    Old Master and British Paintings Evening Sale

    7 July 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 31

    Florentine School, early 15th Century

    The Crucifixion with Saints Francis and Anthony, the Madonna and a donor

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Florentine School, early 15th Century
    The Crucifixion with Saints Francis and Anthony, the Madonna and a donor
    on gold ground panel, shaped top, in an integral frame
    19 3/8 x 10 ½ in. (49.1 x 26.1 cm.)
    inscribed ‘SA·MARIA·SVS·FRANCISCVS / ·MATER·DEI·SVS·ANTONIVS·’ (lower centre, on the frame)


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    This small, unpublished panel, destined for private devotion due to its scale, is closely related to the work of Giovanni di Marco, also known as Giovanni dal Ponte, a key figure of late Gothic Florentine art. He is thought to have begun his training under Spinello Aretino and he earned his name from the location of his workshop near Santo Stefano al Ponte. This panel can be compared to a Crucifixion by Giovanni dal Ponte, painted on the wing of an altarpiece, formerly with the Silberman Galleries, which shows strong similarities in the physiognomy of Christ and the face of the Madonna. It is also possible that the artist may have had knowledge of the Crucifixion by Spinello in the Basilica di San Francesco in Arezzo, indicating that this panel may date to circa 1410.

    To the left of Christ stand Saint Francis, identified by his stigmata, and Saint Anthony, the Father of Monastic Orders. The latter holds a book in his left hand and a globe of fire in his right. The fire refers to ergot poisoning, also known as ‘Saint Anthony’s Fire’. This was an alarming disease that had devastating consequences in the 14th and 15th centuries, a form of chemically-induced psychosis suffered as a result of ingesting mould-contaminated grain. It was named ‘Saint Anthony’s Fire’ after the monks of the Order of Saint Anthony, who were particularly effective at treating the ailment.