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Circle of Bernardino Luini (Luini? c. 1480/5-1532 Lugano?)
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Circle of Bernardino Luini (Luini? c. 1480/5-1532 Lugano?)

Angels making music

Details
Circle of Bernardino Luini (Luini? c. 1480/5-1532 Lugano?)
Angels making music
detached gilded fresco, laid down on canvas
22¾ x 19 5/8 in. (57.8 x 49.8 cm.)
Provenance
Anonymous sale; Christie's, New York, 21 May 1992, lot 77 ($38,500).

Condition Report

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Lot Essay

While the original context of this detached fresco is uncertain, the presence of gilding and the refined execution of the figures suggest that this fragment was painted by an accomplished Milanese artist for a wealthy patron and most likely would have decorated the wall of a chapel. Epitomizing grace, these angels reflect a typically Lombard ideal of beauty that was very much influenced by Leonardo da Vinci. Yet the overall composition is most reminiscent of a series of detached frescoes by one of Leonardo's greatest followers, Bernardino Luini. This latter artist's fresco cycle of The Story of Procris and Cephalus of circa 1520-1522 (The National Gallery of Art, Washington), for instance, was painted with a remarkably similar palette of lavender, ochre and light-greens and is likewise populated with figures possessing elegant physiognomies. A fresco fragment of comparable size, also laid down on canvas and representing music-making angels, sold at Phillips, London, on 6 July 1999, lot 70 as 'Circle of Bernardino Luini' (£72,000), and a third fragment is documented in the Witt Library, London as in the collection of P. Grange. It is likely that all three fragments share a common origin.

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