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Giovanni di Ser Giovanni Giudi, Lo Scheggia (S. Giovanni Valdarno 1406-1486 Florence)
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Giovanni di Ser Giovanni Giudi, Lo Scheggia (S. Giovanni Valdarno 1406-1486 Florence)

The Story of Lionora de' Bardi and Ippolito Buondelmonte: panel from a cassone

Details
Giovanni di Ser Giovanni Giudi, Lo Scheggia (S. Giovanni Valdarno 1406-1486 Florence)
The Story of Lionora de' Bardi and Ippolito Buondelmonte: panel from a cassone
tempera and gold on panel
16¼ x 64¾ in. (41.4 x 164.5 cm.)
Provenance
Arthur Kaufmann.
Vincent Korda.
Purchased by the present owner in 1975.
Literature
G. Hughes, Renaissance Cassoni, Masterpieces of Early Italian Art: Painted Marriage Chests 1400-1500, Polegate, 1997, pp. 20 and 54, illustrated pp. 18, 24-5, 56, 187 and 195.
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.
Sale Room Notice
Please note the following change of attribution and additional literature:

FLORENTINE SCHOOL, circa 1460

Literature:
L. Bellosi and M. Haines, Lo Scheggia, Florence and Siena, 1999, p. 99, rejecting the attribution to Scheggia.

The panel was attributed to the Master of Fucecchio in 1975. On the basis of illustrations, and noting the condition of the panel, Everett Fahy very tentatively points to compositional similarities with works by Domenico di Michelino, including the Story of Susanna at Avignon and the cassone front with the Triumph of Love and Chastity, sold at Sotheby's, New York, 26 January 2006, lot 34.

Lot Essay

The Story of Lionora de' Bardi and Ippolito Buondelmonte was told in a short story (novella) by the Florentine architect and theorist, Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472). The two belonged to celebrated families which were hereditary enemies. But, as with the issue of the Montagus and Capulets of Shakespeare's Verona, they fell in love. Buondelmonte was caught in the Bardi palace, accused of theft and, as he refused to explain his presence to avoid compromising Lionora, was condemned to death. On the left, under the loggia, Lionora is seen, habited as a widow, declaring her love for the fair-haired Buondelmonte, before the judge. They are married, and the narrative that follows, set in a piazza with an open loggia between two of the towers of the city walls, shows the two, Lionora still in her widow's veils, going to the Buondelmonte palace. They are preceded by a servant carrying a cassone on his shoulders and bent by the weight of this, a boy with a sack over his shoulder and other men, perhaps relations, carrying the more precious items of Lionora's dowry, including a tazza and a two handed vase, both ostensibly of gold. Two boys carrying rich fabrics are behind the bridal couple. No other panel, perhaps, offers such direct visual evidence of the function of the cassone as part of the ceremonial of marriage alliances in quattrocento Florence.

Scheggia was the younger brother of Masaccio. He trained in 1420-1 under the Florentine master, Bicci di Lorenzo, but was subsequently influenced by the example of his brother. In 1969 it was recognised by Luciano Bellosi that the large group of panels assigned by Longhi to his Master of the Adimari Cassone were by the same hand as the fresco of 1457 which is the only known signed work by Scheggia. The artist specialised in the production of small devotional pictures, deschi da parto (birth trays) and other decorative works, including cassone and spalliera panels. While not of the same intellectual or artistic calibre as his brother, Scheggia was evidently a friend of the greatest architect of the day, Filippo Brunelleschi, and so it is not surprising that he was also aware of the writing of another of the great men who transformed Florentine artistic perceptions in his generation, Alberti.

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