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Battista di Biagio Sanguigni (Florence 1393-1451), formerly known as the Master of 1419
Battista di Biagio Sanguigni (Florence 1393-1451), formerly known as the Master of 1419

Saint John the Baptist and Saint Anthony Abbot: the right wing of an altarpiece

Battista di Biagio Sanguigni (Florence 1393-1451), formerly known as the Master of 1419
Saint John the Baptist and Saint Anthony Abbot: the right wing of an altarpiece
on gold ground panel, shaped top in an integral frame
47½ x 26¾ in. (120.7 x 68 cm.)
Commissioned by the Marchese Guigni for the Oratorio of the Church of Santa Maria a Latera in the Mugello.
Transferred after 1516 to the Church of San Jacopo alla Cavallina, Florence.
Victor Hahn, Berlin.
A.S. Drey, Munich; their forced sale, Paul Graupe, Berlin, Aus dem besitz der Firma A.S Drey, München, 18 June, 1936, lot 1, as Spinello Aretino.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 8 July 1983, lot 36 (£55,000) where acquired by Dr. Gustav Rau.
Lifetime bequest from Dr. Rau to Unicef.
To be sold following a settlement between the current owner, Unicef and the heirs of A.S. Drey.

G.M. Brochi, Descrizione della provincia del Mugello con la carta geografica del medesimo, aggiuntavi un' antica cronica della nobil famiglia da Lutiano creduta di consorteria delli Ubaldinigià signori dell'istesso Mugello, Florence, 1748.
G. Pudelko, 'The stylistic development of Lorenzo Monaco', in The Burlington Magazine, LXXIII, May 1938, p. 237.
G. Pudelko, 'The maestro del Bambino Vispo', in Art in America, XXVI, April 1938, p. 63, fig. 6.
Katalogue Galerie de Boer, Amsterdam, June/July 1939, no. 85.
P. Pouncey, 'A new panel by the Master of 1419', in The Burlington Magazine, XCVI, no. 618, September 1954, pp. 291-2, fig. 31.
W. Cohn, 'Notizie storiche intorno ad alcune tavole del '300 e '400', in Rivista d'Arte, XXXI, 1956, pp. 49-52.
B. Berenson, Italian Pictures in the Renaissance: Florentine School, London, 1963, I, p. 220, pl. 550, as by a Florentine close to Masolino (Master of 1419).
European Paintings before 1500. Catalogue of the Cleveland Museum of Art, 1974, under no. 33, fig. 33b.
R. Longhi, Fatti di Masolino e di Masaccio e altri studi sul Quattrocento, Florence 1975.
L. Kanter, 'Battista di Biagio Sanguigni and Zanobi Strozzi', in Fra Angelico, exhibition catalogue, New York, 2005, pp. 227 and 232, fig. 139.
M. Boskovits, 'Ancora sul Maestro del 1419', in Arte cristiana, XC, 2002, no. 812, pp. 332-40.
Grandes Mestres da Pintura. De Fra Angelico a Bonnard. Colecçao Rau, exhibition catalogue, Museu nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon, 2006, p. 18.
Tiepolo und das Antlitz Italiens, Kunstkammer Rau, exhibition catalogue, Arpmuseum, Remagen, 2009, no. 3, p. 106, illustrated.
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Clemency Henty
Clemency Henty

Lot Essay

The Saint John the Baptist and Anthony Abbot, originally formed part of an altarpiece, of which the main panel is a Madonna and Child, now in the Cleveland Museum, Ohio and the left side is a Saint Julian and James the Greater, now in a private collection. Each of the three panels conforms to the others in terms of size, design, marginal decoration and framing, and the design of the tiled floor forms a continuous link across all three panels.

The Cleveland panel has the original inscription on the base of the frame which reads 'Questa tavola a fato fare di Antonio di Domenico Giugni per rimedio della sua Anima anno Domini MCCCCXVIIII'. Thus the complete triptych was originally commissioned by marchese Domenico Guigni for the oratory of Santa Maria a Latera in the Mugello, just outside Florence. In his will of 1414, Giugni left 50 gold florins for the creation of such a work for the salvation of his soul. In 1516 the church was demolished and the triptych was transferred to the nearby church of San Jacopo alla Cavallina, where it is described in an eighteenth-century description of the church as still being complete.

Georg Pudelko (loc. cit.) recognised the connection between this picture and the Cleveland panel, and named the painter The Master of 1419, after the date of the latter. More recently Miklós Boskovits crystallized the corpus of this artist in which about a dozen altarpieces, altarpiece fragments and private devotional panels were assigned to a period ranging from around 1410 to 1430. Clearly the Santa Maria a Latera altarpiece assumes particular significance, partly because its date established that the artist made a significant contribution to the artistic trend of the day, but also as an example of a move away from the highly expressive Gothicisim of Lorenzo Monaco towards the more classicizing style which was to be developed by Fra Angelico.

The Santa Maria a Latera altarpiece's links to the early work of Fra Angelico and in particular the influence it had on the young artist's approach to the San Domenico high altar are given greater significance with the recent identification of the Master of 1419 as Battista di Biagio Sanguigni. The two artists are documented as having close connections as early as 1417 and it now seems probable that the San Domenico high altarpiece was developed by Angelico with the full awareness of Sanguigni's work.

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