• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 11973

    Old Master and British Paintings Evening Sale

    7 July 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 30

    School of Spoleto, first half of the 14th Century

    A diptych: left wing: The Madonna and Child with two Saints (above) and Saint Francis, Saint Catherine of Alexandria and an Evangelist (below); right wing: The Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist (above) and a Bishop Saint, the Beata Illuminata of Montefalco (?) and Saint James the Greater (below)

    Estimate

    School of Spoleto, first half of the 14th Century
    A diptych: left wing: The Madonna and Child with two Saints (above) and Saint Francis, Saint Catherine of Alexandria and an Evangelist (below); right wing: The Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist (above) and a Bishop Saint, the Beata Illuminata of Montefalco (?) and Saint James the Greater (below)
    on gold ground panel, marouflaged, shaped top, in an integral frame
    13 ¾ x 7 in. (34.6 x 17 cm.)
    a pair (2)


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    The city of Spoleto, situated north of Rome and just south of Perugia and Assisi, enjoyed a flourishing artistic tradition from at least the 12th century. In the first decades of the 14th century, artists working in the Spoletan style encountered the developments at Assisi, where Giotto, Simone Martini and the Lorenzetti had all worked. Filippo Todini identifies two as-yet-anonymous painters — both named for the Beata Chiara of Montefalco, an Augustinian nun whose cult was of considerable local importance in Trecento Montefalco — as among the first of the Spoletan School to absorb the innovations at Assisi. Although the town of Montefalco was too small to have supported an artistic centre in its own right, the cult of the Beata Chiara did support numerous commissions from Spoletan artists. Indeed, while both the aforementioned Masters of the Beata Chiara are known for the frescoes they executed in the Cappella di Santa Croce in the church of Santa Chiara at Montefalco, the painters themselves likely hailed from outside Montefalco itself.

    Todini considered the present starkly conceived diptych, intended for private devotion, to be close to the work of the first Master of the Beata Chiara, who was active in the 1330s and 1340s (op. cit.). Although he is primarily known for his work in fresco, devotional panels on a similar scale by the Master do survive, including the reliquary from Spoleto at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (ibid., pl. 277). The Augustinian nun shown below the cross in the second panel has sometimes been identified as the Beata Illuminata of Montefalco, whose inclusion might suggest that the diptych was intended for a patron from Montefaco or its immediate vicinity.

    Provenance

    L. Salavin; Palais Galliéra, Paris, 5 December 1973, lot 35.
    Anonymous sale; Semenzato, Venice, 4 July 2004, lot 48.


    Saleroom Notice

    This Lot is Withdrawn.


    Pre-Lot Text

    Property of a private collector 


    Literature

    F. Todini, La Pittura Umbra dal Duecento al Primo Cinquecento, Milan, 1989, I, p. 352; and II, fig. 289.