Overview

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ATTRIBUTED TO ANTONIO AQUILI, CALLED ANTONIAZZO ROMANO (? C. 1435-CIRCA 1508 ROME)
ATTRIBUTED TO ANTONIO AQUILI, CALLED ANTONIAZZO ROMANO (? C. 1435-CIRCA 1508 ROME)
ATTRIBUTED TO ANTONIO AQUILI, CALLED ANTONIAZZO ROMANO (? C. 1435-CIRCA 1508 ROME)
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ATTRIBUTED TO ANTONIO AQUILI, CALLED ANTONIAZZO ROMANO (? C. 1435-CIRCA 1508 ROME)

The Dormition of the Virgin

Details
ATTRIBUTED TO ANTONIO AQUILI, CALLED ANTONIAZZO ROMANO (? C. 1435-CIRCA 1508 ROME)
The Dormition of the Virgin
tempera and gold on panel, a fragment
18 5/8 x 31 ½ in. (47.3 x 80 cm.), with a later triangular addition of 7 x 3 1/8 in. (17.8 x 8 cm.) to the upper left corner, and a later addition of 7/8 x 11 in. (2.4 x 27.9 cm.) to the upper left edge
Provenance
Art market, Rome.
with Robert Strauss, London, by 1954.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 30 November 1979, lot 50, as 'Antonazzio Romano.'
Ortolani collection, Rome, from which acquired by the present owner.

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Lot Essay

Born into a family of painters, Antoniazzo gained renown as an independent artist from the 1460s and, prior to the arrival of Raphael and Michelangelo, was one to the most important and prestigious painters in Rome during his lifetime. He was patronized by the foremost Roman families, including the Colonna and the Orsini, and was celebrated not only for his original compositions but also for his restoration and copies of Medieval icons from previous centuries.

This charming group of saints must once have formed part of a larger composition depicting the Dormition of the Virgin. In the lower left corner, a beautiful red and gold figured textile with a delicate trim and a blue brocade pillow adorn the bed on which the Virgin's body would have been laid, though only the foot of the bed is now visible. Only one of the figures at the Virgin’s bedside looks toward her, the others fix their gazes upward, their faces upturned in wonder, suggesting they are witnessing the presence of a divine figure, most likely Christ. They are bathed in a bright, celestial light which casts a golden hue across their hair and the leaves of the trees beyond.

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