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Biagio Pupini, called Biagio dalle Lame (Bologna, active 1511-c.1575)
Biagio Pupini, called Biagio dalle Lame (Bologna, active 1511-c.1575)

The Madonna and Child appearing to Saint Petronius of Bologna, the Apostle Saint James the Greater, and Saint Francis of Assisi

Details
Biagio Pupini, called Biagio dalle Lame (Bologna, active 1511-c.1575)
The Madonna and Child appearing to Saint Petronius of Bologna, the Apostle Saint James the Greater, and Saint Francis of Assisi
oil on panel
90.7/8 x 63in. (230.8 x 160cm.)
Provenance
The church of San Giacomo dei Carbonesi, Bologna.
Edward Solly, 7 Curzon Street, London; (+) Christie's, London, 8 May 1847, lot 3 (14gns. to Rudd).
Dial House, Lincoln, probably since the 1870s.
Bishop Grosseteste College, since 1920.
Literature
A. di Paolo Masimi, Bologna Perlustrata, Bologna, 1666 (2nd and enlarged edition), p. 391.
C.C. Malvasia, Le pitture di Bologna, Bologna, 1686, p. 196.
C.C. Malvasia, Felsina Pittrice. Vite de Pittori Bolognesi, ed. G. Zanotti et al., Bologna, 1841, II, p. 242, note 2 (as location unknown).
A. Emiliani, Carlo Cesare Malvasia, Le Pitture di Bologna, 1686, Bologna, 1969, p. 129, note 196/9 (as lost).

Lot Essay

Originally the high altar of the church of San Giacomo dei Carbonesi in Bologna, this picture was sold in these Rooms 8 May 1847, as part of a sale entitled: 'Very interesting and valuable collection of Italian Pictures, of the Raffaelle Period, formed by Edward Solly'. This title suits Pupini's picture particularly well since it so clearly shows the influence of Raphael. The symmetrical composition is based on Raphael's altarpiece of Saint Cecilia. The classicizing features of the contemplative Saint James and the strong chiaroscuro in the rendering of the drapery also reflect the influence of Raphael's picture. It is not surprising that this picture had a profound influence on Pupini since it was in Bologna in the church of San Giovanni in Monti.

Pupini, active in Bologna, is first recorded in 1511 when he collaborated with Bagnacavallo on the frescoes in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli in Faenza. In 1525 he participated with Girolamo da Carpi, in the decoration of the sacristy of San Michele in Bosco in Bologna. The present altarpiece echoes the Ferrarese interpretation by Da Carpi of the elegance of Parmigianino. This influence and that of Raphael's Saint Cecilia can also be seen in Pupini's altarpiece of the Madonna and Child with Saints which dates from the 1540s and was painted for the Church of San Giuliano. On the basis of the great similarity with the composition and the style of this picture, the present lot can also be dated to the 1540s.

The picture was mentioned by Malvasia in his description of 1686 of the pictures in churches and palazzi in Bologna, as the high altar of the church of San Giacomo dei Carbonesi. According to the catalogue of the 1847 sale, Edward Solly acquired it from that church. Solly, a former resident of Berlin, had made a fortune during the Napoleonic wars from his family's enormous timber importing business based in Saint Mary Axe in London. Around 1811 he seems to have quite suddenly developed a passion for collecting art and, in the following nine years, he amassed the largest private collection of pictures formed in the nineteeth century, consisting of no less than 3,000 works. Having fallen into financial difficulties, Solly offered the collection to the Prussian state, which purchased it in 1821. A substantial part of the pictures went on public display when the Royal Gallery of Berlin opened in 1830. The paintings were then transferred to the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in 1904, and form the basis of the Berlin collections today. Solly subsequently formed in London a second, smaller collection consisting almost exclusively of sixteenth century Italian pictures. The present work found itself in the company of a large number of important pictures, for example Crivelli's Annunciation and Lorenzo Lotto's Portrait of a family, both now in the National Gallery.
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