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Domenico Bigordi, il Ghirlandaio (Florence 1449-1494)

Two Angels in Adoration

Details
Domenico Bigordi, il Ghirlandaio (Florence 1449-1494)
Two Angels in Adoration
with an unidentified armorial red-wax seal on the stretcher
fresco, laid down onto canvas
34 1/8 x 19 3/8 in. (86.7 x 49.2 cm.)
Provenance
Harris.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 7 July 2004, lot 4 (sold for £65,725).
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Sale room notice
Please note the following additional provenance:

Henry 'Bogey' Harris, London.
with Wildenstein, New York, by 1969, as Antoniazzo Romano.
with Wildenstein, London, by 1996.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 7 July 2004, lot 4 (sold for £65,725).

Henry Harris was an avid collector of Italian primitives, sculpture, and Renaissance furniture, whose taste may have been formed in Florence before the First World War by Herbert Horne, the biographer of Botticelli. His collection was housed in an impressive Georgian house on the east side of Bedford Square before he moved to Cheyne Row after the Second World War, and was sold in a series of estate sales in 1950. We are grateful to Mr. Everett Fahy for his help in cataloguing this lot.

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Lot Essay

Previously attributed to both Pesellino (label on the reverse) and Antoniazzo Romano, this picture was recognized as Ghirlandaio by Everett Fahy in 1996. He suggested that it may have formed part of the mural decoration that adjoined the marble tomb of Francesca Tornabuoni (d. 1471), in the church of S. Maria sopra Minerva, Rome, which was executed circa 1482 and thus closely contemporary with the artist's work in association with Perugino, Botticelli and others in the Sistine Chapel. The scheme consisted of four narrative scenes, two from the life of Saint John the Baptist, two from that of the Virgin (G. Vasari, Le vite di più eccellenti pittori, scultori ed architetti, ed. G. Milanesi, Florence, III, 1878, pp. 259-60). The patron was a prominent Florentine merchant, Giorgio Tornabuoni (1428-1497) (rather than his father Francesco as Vasari states), who himself was portrayed in the Sistine Chapel and subsequently commissioned the celebrated frescoes of the choir of S. Maria Novella, Florence from the artist.

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