• Important Early European Furni auction at Christies

    Sale 7764

    Important Early European Furniture, Sculpture & Tapestries

    5 November 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 207

    A POLYCHROME CARVED ALABASTER GROUP OF THE PIETA

    CIRCLE OF THE MASTER OF RIMINI, FIRST HALF 15TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A POLYCHROME CARVED ALABASTER GROUP OF THE PIETA
    CIRCLE OF THE MASTER OF RIMINI, FIRST HALF 15TH CENTURY
    The bust of the Virgin detached from the group, resting on an integral base; inscribed 'W' on the base; chips and restorations
    7 7/8 in. (20.2 cm.) high


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    This finely carved group of the Pieta belongs to a distinctive group of alabaster carvings of the same subject attributed to the Master of the Rimini Altarpiece. The attribution is based on the existence of a large and highly sophisticated alabaster dated to circa 1430 that was purchased from S. Maria delle Grazie in Rimini-Covignano in 1913 and is now housed in the Liebeighaus, Frankfurt Am Main (loc. cit.). Although scholarship has offered different opinions on the nationality of the author, it is now generally considered to be the work of a southern Netherlandish or northern French sculptor who executed the altarpiece sometime prior to the Church's consecration in 1432.

    Virtually nothing is known about this master or his circle, but it is likely that he operated a workshop with a number of assistants if one is to take into consideration the complexity of this altarpiece and the large number of subsequent carvings that were made in the same style. The largest known group of alabasters carved in this style are most frequently of the Pieta, an example of which is offered here. Although none of them is completely identical, they all display a very similar attention to the elaborately carved drapery of the Virgin's cloak and to the anguished facial types of both the Virgin and Christ.

    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

    Acquired by Charles Gillot in November 1897 (80 Fr) and by descent.
    Christie's, Paris, 4-5 March 2008, lot 207


    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that the crack visible through the torso in the catalogue illustration will be restored at Christie's expense prior to the sale.


    Literature

    COMPARATIVE LITERATIVE:
    M. Maek-Gérard, Nachantike Grossplastiche Bildwerke - Italien - Frankreich - Niederlande 1380-1530/40, Vol. II, Melsungen, 1981, p. 148-174