THE MASTER OF THE MISERICORDIA (ACTIVE FLORENCE, SECOND HALF OF THE 14TH CENTURY)
THE MASTER OF THE MISERICORDIA (ACTIVE FLORENCE, SECOND HALF OF THE 14TH CENTURY)
THE MASTER OF THE MISERICORDIA (ACTIVE FLORENCE, SECOND HALF OF THE 14TH CENTURY)
THE MASTER OF THE MISERICORDIA (ACTIVE FLORENCE, SECOND HALF OF THE 14TH CENTURY)
3 More
PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTOR
THE MASTER OF THE MISERICORDIA (ACTIVE FLORENCE, SECOND HALF OF THE 14TH CENTURY)

A prophet

Details
THE MASTER OF THE MISERICORDIA (ACTIVE FLORENCE, SECOND HALF OF THE 14TH CENTURY)
A prophet
tempera and gold on panel
12 5/8 x 8 ¾ in. (33 x 22.5 cm.)
Provenance
In Florence, between 1832 and 1842, as 'Gaddo Gaddi,' when copied by J. A. Ramboux.
Rev. Montague Taylor; Christie's, London, 19 May 1897, lot 151, as 'Early Flemish' (2 gns. to Philpot).
Dr. Hans Gronau (1904-1951), London, and by descent in the family.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 3 December 2008, lot 220, where acquired by the present owner.
Literature
S. Chiodo, 'Painters in Florence After the "Black Death". The Master of the Misericordia and Matteo di Pacino', in A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting, Miklós Boskovits, ed., Florence, 2011, pp. 225-226, pl. XXIX.
A. Nesi, ed., La Croce di Bernardo Daddi: Vicissitudini di un'opera d'arte, exhibition catalogue, Florence, 2011, pp. 79-80, fig. 42.
Exhibited
New York, Salamander Fine Arts, Paintings and watercolours, 14th-20th century, 5-13 April 2006, as 'Attributed to The Master of the Orcagnesque Misericordia'.

Brought to you by

Francois de Poortere
Francois de Poortere International Director, Head of Department

Lot Essay

The Master of the Misericordia was a leading painter in Florence during the third quarter of the fourteenth century, working under the formative influences of Taddeo Gaddi (circa 1290-1366) and Bernardo Daddi (active 1312/20-1348). Indeed, the present panel was formerly believed to be a work by Gaddi himself until Professor Miklós Boskovits suggested the possibility of its current attribution in 2006 (private correspondence, 27 January 2006). Such an attribution was supported by Sonia Chiodo, who emphasized the stylistic similarities it shared with other works by the Master of the Misericordia and suggested an execution date of circa 1370-75 (loc. cit.). Prior to the painting’s 2008 sale, the attribution was endorsed by Everett Fahy following first-hand inspection of the work.

The picture was still in Florence during the early nineteenth century, where it was copied by the painter Johann Anton Ramboux. A native of Trier, he had trained under Jacques-Louis David in Paris before moving to Italy in 1816, where he became a passionate devotee of the early Italian masters. Involved with the Nazarene movement – a group of German Romantic painters aiming to revive the honesty and spirituality of Christian art – he spent a great deal of his time studying and making copies of the works of art he saw in Italy. Ramboux produced over two thousand drawings after early Italian paintings, which were later bound together into volumes. At the beginning of the fourth volume of these collated ‘sketchbooks’, a drawing after the present picture was included (fig. 1), along with another panel that probably originated from the same altarpiece depicting a male figure turning his head to the right and holding a similar scroll inscribed with pseudo-Hebrew script. The works likely comprised part of a predella of an altarpiece in Florence and were erroneously attributed by Ramboux and the collator to Gaddo Gaddi (c. 1239-c. 1312). In discussing Ramboux’s drawings, Hueck identified this bearded figure with one of a pair of panels from the same altarpiece in the Wildenstein collection, Paris (I. Hueck, ‘Le copie di Johan Anton Ramboux da alcuni affreschi in Toscana ed in Umbria’, Prospettiva, XXIII, 1980, p. 5, figs. 10 and 11).

Each of the three known panels from this altarpiece depict the figure turned to the right, suggesting a linear presentation in which these figures formed part or all of the left side of the ensemble. The identification of each of the figures remains problematic. Indeed, while the present work has generally been understood to represent a prophet, the depiction of such a figure as a clean shaven young man during the Middle Ages was rather unusual. The scrolls held by each of the figures, however, were a traditional attribute of prophets, and the archaic pseudo-script found in each may have been intended as a reference to their antiquity.

More from Old Master Paintings and Sculpture

View All
View All