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This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more PROPERTY FROM THE THYSSEN-BORNEMISZA COLLECTION (LOTS 15, 16, 17 & 18)

The Last Judgement

The Last Judgement
tempera on gold ground panel
6 5/8 x 7 1/8 in. (17 x 18.2 cm.)
Amadeo collection, Rome, early 1930s.
with Carlo Foresti, Milan, by 1932.
Bruno Canto, Milan, by 1950.
I.D.P. Anstalt Vaduz, Mr. Colombo, 8 January 1977.
Baron Hans-Henirich Thyssen-Bornemisza, and by descent.
R. Offner, A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting, Florence, 1947, III, part V, pp. 253-254, note 10, as 'Venetian School'.
R. Longhi, 'Giudizio sul Duecento', Proporzioni, II, 1948, pp. 16-18 and 45-46, fig. 27, as 'Cimabue'.
J. Pope-Hennessy, 'The Literature of Art', The Burlington Magazine, XC, 1948, p. 360, as 'Cimabue'.
E.B. Garrison, Italian Romanesque Panel Painting, Florence, 1949, pp. 30 and 238, no. 676, as the 'Speaking Christ Master'.
R. Salvini, 'Postilla a Cimabue', Rivista d'Arte, XXVI, 1950, p. 54, as 'Circle of the Master of Saint Martin'.
C. Brandi, Duccio, Florence, 1951, pp. 133-134.
U. Galetti and E. Camesasca, Enciclopedia Pittura Italiana, Milan, 1951, I, p. 672.
Paintings of the Renaissance: Handbook of the Samuel H. Kress Collection, Portland, 1952, p. 10.
W.E. Suida, Handbook of the Samuel H. Kress Collection in the Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans, 1953, p. 6, as 'Italian Painter, 13th Century', with a summary of the attributional history of the group.
R. Salvini, 'Cimabue', Enciclopedia Universale dell'Arte, Milan, 1958, p. 472, illustrated, as 'Cimabue'.
C. Seymour, Art Treasures for America from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1961, under nos. 48-49.
R. Pallucini, La Pittura Veneziana del Trecento, Venice and Rome, 1964, p. 74.
V. Lazarev, 'Saggi sulla pittura veneziana dei secoli XIII-XVI. La maniera greca e il problema de la scuola cretese', I'Arte Veneta, XIX, 1965, pp. 19-20.
A. Boschetto, La Collezione Roberto Longhi, Florence, 1971, under no. 1, Cimabue, The Nativity.
A. Conti, 'Appunti pistoiesi', Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, I, 1971, p. 123, note 1.
E. Sindona, L'opera completa di Cimabue, Milan, 1975, p. 119, no. 66, as 'Cimabue'.
M. Boskovits, Cimabue e i precursori di Giotto, Florence, 1976, under no. 5, note 21.
M. Boskovits, 'Cenni di Pepe (Pepo), detto Cimabue', Dizionario biografico degli Italiani, XXID, Rome, 1979, p. 540.
J.G. Caldwell, New Orleans Museum of Art. Handbook of the Collection, New Orleans, 1980, p. 25, as 'Venetian School, circa 1300'.
M. Scudieri, 'Maggi', La Fondazione Roberto Longhi a Firenze, Milan, 1980, pp. 238-239.
G. Borghero, ed., Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Catalogue Raisonné of the Exhibited Works of Art, Milan, 1981, p. 217, pl. 208b, as 'Venice Master circa 1300'.
J. Pope-Hennessy, 'Some Italian Primitives', Apollo, CVIII, no. 3, 1983, p. 12 and 14, fig. 4.
A. Tartuferi, 'Pittura fiorentina del Duecento', La Pittura in Italia: Le origini, Milan, 1985, pp. 236 and 240, note 42.
A. Tartuferi, La Pittura in Italia: Duecento e Trecento, Milan, 1986, pp. 278 and 282, note 40.
L.C. Marques, La peinture du Duecento en Italie Centrale, Paris, 1987, p. 108 and p. 244, note 174.
M. Boskovits, The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection: Early Italian painting 1290-1470, London, 1990, pp. 131-133, no. 21, illustrated, as 'Master of the Dotto Chapel'.
Special notice

This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Sale room notice
Please note that lots 15, 16 and 17 which were not marked with a symbol in the catalogue, are now subject to a minimum price guarantee and have been financed by a third party who is bidding on these lots and may receive a financing fee from Christie’s. Please see the Conditions of Sale for further information.

Brought to you by

Clementine Sinclair
Clementine Sinclair Director, Head of Department

Lot Essay

This and the following lot, depicting the Crucifixion, are components respectively of the right and left shutters of a diptych by the late thirteenth-century painter known as the Master of the Dotto Chapel after his now destroyed frescoes in the church of the Eremitani at Padua. The Master was one of the most distinguished artists active in the Veneto in the 1290s and it is understandable that when this panel surfaced in 1941 it and its then companions were attributed, albeit tentatively, to no less a painter than Cimabue.
The Last Judgement, with three companion panels, the Nativity (now Florence, Fondazione Longhi), the Last Supper (fig. 1; now New Orleans, Isaac Delgado Museum, Kress Collection) and the Arrest of Christ (fig. 2; now Portland, Oregon, Art Museum, Kress Collection) – the latter three all from the left shutter - were first recorded in the Amadeo collection in Rome about 1932. The panels were then divided into two pairs: the Last Judgement and the Nativity passing to Carlo Foresti, who sold the second to Roberto Longhi in 1935; while the others went to the dealer Conte Contini Bonacossi, from whom they were acquired by Samuel H. Kress. In the National Gallery of Art, Washington, Preliminary Catalogue of 1941 (pp. 41-2), the Kress panels were tentatively given to Cimabue, to whom Longhi (who published his opinion in 1948, dating the panels about 1270 and suggesting that these might have been painted for Pisa), Giuseppe Fiocco, William Suida and Adolfo Venturi had attributed them. Frederick Mason Perkins had suggested an anonymous contemporary of Cimabue, while Bernard Berenson thought they were by a ‘Greek artist active somewhat later than Cimabue’ (cf. Boskovits, 1990, p. 134). Richard Offner (op. cit., 1947) considered the panels ‘by every stroke and every feature typically Venetian’. John Pope-Hennessy (op. cit., 1948) rejected the attribution to Cimabue, while Edward Garrison (op. cit., 1949) followed Offner in recognising that these were Venetian, dating them 1315-35, and attributing them to his ‘Speaking Child Master’. That the panels are Venetian has been subsequently accepted by most scholars, including: Cesare Brandi (op. cit., 1951), who characterised these as ‘pre o para-cimabuesco’; Pietro Toesca (Il Trecento, Turin, 1951, p. 702), who saw an affinity with his ‘Maestro di S. Agata’; Rodolfo Pallucchini (op. cit., 1964), Pope-Hennessy (op. cit., 1983), who dated them about 1300; Federico Zeri ('Early Italian Pictures in the Kress Collection', Burlington Magazine, CX, 1967, p. 474, fig. 55, as ‘Venetian School’), who dated them to the 13th or 14th Century; and others. Ugo Galetti and Ettore Camesasca (op. cit., 1951) maintained the attribution to Cimabue as, with reservations, did Miklos Boskovits (op. cit., 1976 and 1979). Boskovits subsequently revised his opinion in 1990 (op. cit.), recognising that the compositions of the Last Supper, the Arrest, and the Crucifixion (the following lot in this sale; which Zeri correctly identified as an element in the series, op. cit., 1967), were all paralleled in Venetian painting. He argued that these and the animation of the forms ‘with almost impressionistic splashes of light and well defined compact areas of shadow’ adhered to Venetian patterns, recalling — as ‘the angular faces roughly blocked in also do’ — the frescoes in the Dotto Chapel, so tragically destroyed by bombing in the Second World War and now only known from photographs (see Boskovits, op. cit., 1990, p. 137, figs 2 and 3).
Two other panels, Crucifixions, respectively in the Fondazione Cagnola at Gazzada and formerly with Bellesi (Garrison, op. cit., no. 257), are also by the Master. Boskovits, noting that the ‘free and nervous execution’ and the ‘arbitrary (perhaps deliberate) disregard of perspective rules’ in the panels with the fact that these ‘borrow Palaeologan neo-Hellenistic motifs and formulae, and even some archaic iconography’, which is particularly evident in the Crucifixion (the following lot in this sale). For this shows Christ attached to the Cross by four nails, rather than three, an iconography which Evelyn Sandberg Vavalà established (La croce dipinta italiana e l’iconografia della Passione, Verona, 1929, p. 113ff) was little used after 1300. The evidence thus points to a date about 1290, more or less contemporary with miniatures in the Split Breviary of 1291 in the Museo Correr, Venice (Pallucchini, op. cit., 1964, figs. 12 and 14). Boskovits regarded the panels as works of the ‘earliest period’ of the Dotto Chapel Master (op. cit., 1990, p. 136). These indeed represent a key moment in the early development of Venetian painting and can be seen as forerunners to the achievements of Paolo and Lorenzo Veneziano in the fourteenth century.
Boskovits’ plausible reconstruction of the left wing of the altarpiece suggests that in the upper row a lost Annunciation was flanked by the Longhi Nativity; below these were the New Orleans Last Supper and the Portland Arrest of Christ; and below these a further Passion scene, most probably a Way to Calvary, also lost, and this Crucifixion. The Last Judgement is the only known component of the hypothetical right valve.

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