• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7610

    Important Old Master & British Pictures Day Sale Including Property From The Collection Of The Princely House Of Liechtenstein

    9 July 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 102

    Tuscan School, early 16th Century

    The Temptation of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino

    Price Realised  


    Tuscan School, early 16th Century
    The Temptation of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino
    oil on panel
    12¾ x 19 3/8 in. (32.4 x 49.2 cm.)

    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

    The picture depicts a scene from the life of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino (c. 1245-1305). Called Nicola di Compagnone in his lifetime, the saint was born in Sant'Angelo in Pontano; he was named Nicholas in honour of the saint of Myra and Bari, to whom his parents had prayed for a child. His attribute is a star, which was brought to him by an angel while he was in prayer before an altar; from then on, the star would appear and guide him to the church in Tolentino where he prayed. That golden star is visible on the breast of the saint's habit in the present picture, which illustrates a moment in the saint's life when a group of fiends harrass him as he prays, unsuccessfully attempting to distract him from his devotions.

    An attribution to Beccafumi was proposed by Berenson, but discounted by Sanminiatelli, who believed it belonged to a different artist of the Sienese School.

    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.


    Franz I, Prince von und zu Liechtenstein, Duke of Troppau and Jägerndorf, Count of Rietberg (1853-1938), by whom acquired in 1931, and by descent; at Gaming, Styria, from March 1941 to February 1945, when moved to Lauffen bei Ischl, where it remained until 3 April 1945, when moved to Reichenau Island, Lake Constance, until 21 April 1945, when moved to Schloss Vaduz, Liechtenstein, until the present.


    B. Berenson, Pitture italiane del rinascimento, Milan, 1936, p. 58.
    B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Central Italian and North Italian Schools, London, 1968, I, p. 38, as Beccafumi.
    D. Sanminiatelli, Domenico Beccafumi, Milan, 1967, p. 174, as Attributed to Beccafumi.
    G. Briganti, L'opera completa del Beccafumi, Milan, 1976, no. 218, illustrated, as attributed to Beccafumi.