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    Sale 7743

    Old Masters & 19th Century Art Evening Sale

    7 July 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 12

    Giovanni di Bartolomeo Cristiani (Pistoia, before 1366-after 1398)

    The Cross flanked by the Virgin and Christ in the Tomb, with Saints John the Baptist, Peter, Matthew, Luke, John the Evangelist, Bartholomew, Lawrence and seven other saints, and the Instruments of the Passion

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Giovanni di Bartolomeo Cristiani (Pistoia, before 1366-after 1398)
    The Cross flanked by the Virgin and Christ in the Tomb, with Saints John the Baptist, Peter, Matthew, Luke, John the Evangelist, Bartholomew, Lawrence and seven other saints, and the Instruments of the Passion
    on gold ground panel
    18 x 23 in. (45.8 x 58.4 cm.)


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    This exceptionally well-preserved devotional panel, which was believed in 1836 to be by Stefano Fiorentino, has been attributed to the Master of the Rinuccini Chapel, named after the distinguished cycle of frescoes in the Rinuccini Chapel of Santa Croce, Florence, who is now identified as Matteo di Pacino (d. 1374). Professor Miklòs Boskovits, to whom we are indebted, proposes (e-mail of 17 February 2009) that the picture is by another accomplished Tuscan artist of the late trecento, Giovanni di Bartolomeo Cristiani. From Pistoia, Cristiani is documented in Florence in 1366, but worked mainly in Pistoia and Pisa: he is last recorded in 1398. He was clearly trained at Pistoia, but was strongly influenced by the Florentine Niccolò di Tommaso, who himself worked in Pistoia, and by Nardo di Cione, whose sense of form had perhaps no equal in later trecento Florence. A fragmentary panel by the artist is in the church of San Michele at Crespina, near Pisa, and the provenance of this, iconographically most sophisticated, panel suggests that it also was supplied for a Pisan patron.

    Carlo Lasinio (1759-1838) was one of the pioneers in the appreciation of early Italian pictures. He came to notice as an engraver, settling in Florence in 1778. A number of other publications with engraved copies of pictures were followed by his L'Etruria Pittrice of 1791-5. In 1807 he was nominated Conservatore of the Camposanto at Pisa - hence one of the seals on the reverse of this panel: his ambitious and influential series of etchings after the frescoes of the Camposanto was issued in 1812, and later publications confirmed his authority as an expert on early Italian pictures. By the mid-1820s Lasinio was also active as a dealer, selling works to a number of English collectors, including Dawson Turner and the antiquary, Francis Douce (1757-1834). Douce, who had been keeper of the Department of Manuscripts at the British Museum in 1807-11, was left about £50,000 by the sculptor Joseph Nollekens in 1823, and thereafter was an energetic collector. His books and manuscripts, prints and drawings, coins and medals were bequeathed to the Bodleian Library, Oxford; the drawings and prints were made over to the Ashmolean in 1863. Douce acquired at least 15 pictures from Lasinio (see Levi, op. cit.).

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Carlo Lasinio (1759-1838), Pisa, with his seal with monogram 'CL' on the reverse, and that of the Camposanto, Pisa inscribed 'INSIGNE CAMPO-SANTO DI PISA'.
    Sold by Lasinio, probably in 1830, to Francis Douce, F.S.A. (1757-1834) and recorded in the Douce Museum, London, 1836 (see Literature).
    Acquired by the step-father of the present owner before 1950.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN


    Literature

    S. Meyrick, 'The Douce Museum', The Gentleman's Magazine, n.s. V, 1836, p. 5, no. 13, 'Several figures fourteen in number, kneeling before the Cross, with the Virgin on one side, and Christ in the Tomb on the other, called the Piety of the Apostles, by Stefano Fiorentino'. D. Levi, 'Carlo Lasinio, curator, collector and dealer', The Burlington Magazine, CXXXV, 1993, p. 148.