Jacopo del Casentino Florence? c. 1300-1349?
Jacopo del Casentino Florence? c. 1300-1349?

Saint Lucy with a female patron

Jacopo del Casentino Florence? c. 1300-1349?
Saint Lucy with a female patron
tempera and gold on panel
51 3/8 x 26 5/8 in. 130.5 x 67.8 cm.
Albrighi, Florence.
with Jacques Goudstikker, Amsterdam, 1930.
Looted by the Nazi authorities, July 1940.
Recovered by the Allies, 1945.
in the custody of the Dutch Government.
Restituted in February 2006 to the heir of Jacques Goudstikker.
R. Offner, Studies in Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century, New York, 1927, p. 33, as 'Jacopino del Casentino'.
M. Salmi, La Bibliofilia, XXX, p. 380, no. 2 as 'an early work by Jacopo de Casentino'.
M. Salmi, Mitteilungen de Kunsthistorischen institutes in Florenz, Wien, III, p. 145.
M. Salmi, Rivista d'arte, IX, p. 134 (as 'an early work, perhaps the first known by Casentino').
R. Offner, A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century, New York, 1930-79, section 3, II, part 2, pp. 92, 110, 269, pls. 44, 44a as 'Jacopino del Casentino'.
R. van Marle, Le Scuole della Pittura Italiana, Rome, 1934, III, pp. 266 and 407 as 'Ambrogio Lorenzetti'.
R. van Marle, 'La pittura all'esposizione d'arte antica italiana di Amsterdam', Bolletino d'Arte, 28, 1934/35, pp. 297-8 as 'Ambrogio Lorenzetti'.
R. Offner, A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century, New York, 1947, section 3, V, p. 94, note 1 as 'Jacopino del Casentino'.
M. Salmi, 'Atti e memorie dell'accademia petrarca di lettere', Arti e Scienza, XXXV, 1943-51, 25.
G. Kaftal, Saints in Italian Art: Iconography of the Saints in Tuscan painting, Florence, 1952, col. 644, as 'Jacopino del Casentino'.
H.K. Gerson, et al., eds., Sienese Paintings in Holland, Groningen, 1969, no. 40, illustrated, as 'Sienese school'.
S.A. Fehm, Jr., 'Notes on the Exhibition of Sienese paintings from Dutch Collections', Burlington, III, 1969, p. 577, fig. 51, as 'Jacopo del Casentino'.
H.W. van Os, et al., eds., The Florentine Paintings in Holland, 1300-1500, Maarssen, 1974, p. 106.
R. Fremantle, Florentine Gothic Painters, 1975, p. 123, fig. 248.
M. Boskovits, Pittura Fiorentina alla vigilia del Rinascimento, 1975, pp. 19 and 194, no. 33.
C. Wright, Paintings in Dutch museums, Amsterdam, 1980, p. 199.
M. G. Albertini-Ottolenghi, Pavia Pinacoteca Malaspina, Pavia, 1981, p. 199.
Exhibition catalogue, Early Italian Paintings and Works of Art 1300- 1480, London, Matthieson Fine Art, 1983.
M. Boskovits, A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century, the painters of the Miniaturist Tendency, section 3, IX, Florence, 1984, p. 58, note 203.
Biagi in E. Castelnuovo, La Pittura in Italia: Il Duecento e il Trecento, Milan, 1986, II, p. 587.
M. Boskovits, 2nd ed. of R. Offner, A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: The Fourteenth Century, section 3, II, Florence, 1987, pp. 10, 416-9, pl. 178-9.
H. van Os, et al., eds., The Birth of Panel Painting: Early Italian Paintings in Dutch collections, The Hague, 1989, pp. 13-14, fig. 1.
Old Master Paintings: An illustrated summary catalogue, The Hague, Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst (The Netherlandish Office for the Fine Arts), 1992, p. 150, no. 1234, illustrated.
C.E. de Jong-Janssen in D.H. van Wegen, Catalogue of the Italian Paintings in the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, 1995, pp. 60-1, fig. 25, pl. 2; pp. 173 and 183, pl. 82.
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Catalogue des Nouvelles Acquisitions de la Collection Goudstikker, 8 November - 13 December 1930; Rotterdam, Rotterdamsche Kunstkring, 20 December 1930 - 3 January 1931, no. 26, illustrated (as 'Ambrogio Lorenzetti').
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Italiaansche kunst in Nederlandsch bezit, July - October 1934, no. 191 (as 'Sienese school').
Florence, Istituto Universitario Olandese di Storia dell'Arte, Pitture senesi in Olanda, 1969, no. 24.
Maastricht, Bonnefantenmuseum, on loan.

Lot Essay

This remarkable full-length figure of Saint Lucy is an important and much discussed work by Jacopo del Casentino. Though Offner and the majority of scholars have, since 1927, attributed it Jacopo, that has been debated. Jacques Goudstikker acquired it in Italy, perhaps through the intervention of the Dutch scholar Raimond van Marle. Goudstikker immediately exhibited it as a work by the Sienese artist Ambrogio Lorenzetti at his gallery (see provenance above). That attribution was repeated in the 1934 Stedelijk exhibition of Italian paintings in Dutch collections. In his review of the exhibition in Bolletino d'Arte, van Marle singled out this painting, identified as an important work by Lorenzetti, for special praise. Subsequently, in 1969, van Os cataloged it as 'Sienese', and it was only then, following Fehm's review in The Burlington Magazine, that Offner's original attribution was firmly reinstated and this splendid panel became unequivocally part of Jacopo del Casentino's corpus.

This confusion is instructive: it illustrates the close ties in the 1320s and 1330s between Sienese and Florentine painters. Offner includes Jacopo among the 'Painters of the Miniaturist Tendency' because of their predeliction for small scale, delicately painted devotional works - often portable tabernacles - that were quite different from the massive sculptural forms associated with Giotto. Berenson initiated the assembly of Casentino's corpus, which Offner later amplified. Jacopo's early works, such as the decoration of the Velluti Chapel in S. Croce, reveal a debt to Giotto, and suggest an apprenticeship with the important Giottesque artist, the St. Cecilia Master. This Saint Lucy, though imposing in scale and simplified in form, retains a delicacy of line, especially in the outline of the drapery and the folds of the saint's red cloak, that suggest a Sienese influence. Indeed, Offner proposes that Casentino based this composition on a Saint Lucy by Pietro Lorenzetti (fig. 1) painted for the Church of Santa Lucia dei Magnoli in Florence, dated circa 1320. Boskovitz, without making that connection, compares this Saint Lucy to Casentino's magnificent S. Miniato altarpiece (fig. 2), painted for S. Miniato al Monte, of which Offner wrote: 'This painting should be recorded as Jacopo's masterpiece, and its acceptance as his work completely alters our obsolete views of him'. Documents record the decoration of the chapel of S. Miniato between 1335 and 1342, which provides a terminus ante quem for the S. Miniato altarpiece, and by extension this panel, of 1342.

Casentino almost certainly concieved this panel as a complete object in and of itself, perhaps to be installed on a pillar. It was most likely commissioned by a patron who venerated Saint Lucy, represented here kneeling to the left of the standing saint. Before Goudstikker exhibited the painting, the background had been entirely overpainted, concealing the donor and altering the shape of the jar held by Saint Lucy. Over the added dark background an inscription, 'SAN LUCIA', identified the saint. In his notice in The Burlington Magazine, Fehm remarks that 'examination with strong mazda and ultra-violet light confirms that the panel is in a relatively good state, with only limited retouching and some glazing of the saint's mantle. There is no evidence of any modern alteration of the composition'.

We can now regard this painting as a key work by Jacopo del Casentino, powerfully documenting the confluence of Giottesque and Sienese artistic currents that occurred in Florence around 1330.

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