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Bernardino Luini (Dumenza ?1480/85-1532 ?Lugano)
Bernardino Luini (Dumenza ?1480/85-1532 ?Lugano)
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These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more Property sold at the direction of Brenda, Lady Cook, formerly from the Cook Collection, Doughty House, Richmond
Bernardino Luini (Dumenza ?1480/85-1532 ?Lugano)

The Madonna and Child with Saint George and an angel

Details
Bernardino Luini (Dumenza ?1480/85-1532 ?Lugano)
The Madonna and Child with Saint George and an angel
oil on panel
40 7/8 x 31 ¼ in. (103.5 x 79.5 cm.)
Provenance
Sir Francis Cook, 1st Bt., Visconde de Monserrate (1817-1901), Doughty House, Richmond, by 1875, and by descent in the Long Gallery to,
Sir Francis Cook, 4th Bt. (1907-1978), the late husband of Brenda, Lady Cook.
Literature
Burlington Fine Arts Club: Catalogue of pictures by masters of the Milanese and allied schools of Lombardy, London, 1899, p. lxviii.
W. v. Seidlitz, ‘Die Mailander Ausstellung im Burlington Club’, Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft, XXI, Berlin and Stuttgart, 1898, p. 408.
G.C. Williamson, Bernardino Luini, London, 1899, p. 105, in the Long Gallery.
Abridged Catalogue of the Pictures at Doughty House, Richmond (Belonging to Sir Frederick Cook, Bart., Visconde de Monserrate), London, 1907, p. 16, no. 2, as in the Long Gallery.
G. Morelli, Italian Painters: Critical Studies of their Works, London, 1907, p. 91.
L. Beltrami, Luini, 1512-1532: Materiale di Studio, Milan, 1911, pp. 526 and 550, illustrated.
T. Borenius, A Catalogue of the Paintings at Doughty House, Richmond and Elsewhere in the Collection of Sir Frederick Cook Bt., I, Italian Schools, London, 1913, p. 129, no. 110, illustrated.
Abridged Catalogue of the Pictures at Doughty House, Richmond (Belonging to Sir Frederick Cook, Bart., Visconde de Monserrate), London, 1914, p. 16, no. 2, again as in the Long Gallery.
An Abridged Catalogue of the Pictures at Doughty House, Richmond, Surrey in the Collection of Sir Herbert Cook, Bart., London, 1932, p. 30, no. 110.
B. Berenson, Italian pictures of the Renaissance: Central Italian and North Italian Schools, London and New York, 1968, I, p. 234.
Exhibited
London, Burlington House, Old Masters, 1902, no. 38.
Special Notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

Lot Essay

Though the details of his life and career are relatively scarce, Bernardino Luini is recognised as one of the key followers of Leonardo da Vinci in the early sixteenth century.

Born in Dumenza, he moved to Milan in 1500, but left in 1504, returning to the city in 1507 when he signed and dated the altarpiece now in the Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris. Judging by the pictures he produced on his return, with their echoes of Giovanni Bellini and Cima da Conegliano, his time away from Milan may have been spent in the Veneto. In the early 1510s, he completed key fresco cycles for the villa of Gerolamo Rabia (now dispersed in Milan, Pinacoteca di Brera; Chantilly, Musée Condé; Paris, Musée du Louvre; and London, Wallace Collection), a complex and ambitious project that marked a turning point in his style. He subsequently came into contact with Bernardino Zenale, whose fame had grown in Milan after Leonardo had left, and who proved a reference point for Luini in those years. By the end of the 1510s, Luini was running a successful workshop, in the main producing easel pictures for private devotion; at the time of his death he was the most important artist in Milan. His reputation was revived in the nineteenth century, when he was labelled the ‘Raphael of Lombardy,’ and Stendhal recommended that his students study Luini’s frescoes in Saranno, to say ‘addio alla bella pittura d’Italia’ (Marani, 1996, p. 182, note 21). He was the subject of a major exhibition at the Palazzo Reale in Milan in 2014, Bernardino Luini e i suoi figli.

This picture dates to his full maturity: the characteristically graceful expression of the Madonna and her curled locks of her hair are typically Leonardesque, reminiscent of La Scapigliata, Leonardo’s drawing kept in the Galleria Nazionale, Parma. The figures are arranged with great poise, receding into the landscape behind. Borenius (op. cit.) lists two copies of the picture, one in the church at Masnago, near Varese, and another in the gallery at Aix-les-Bains, Savoire. A version on canvas, formerly in the collection of Baron Fernand de Schickler, measuring 111 x 86.5 cm., was sold at Christie’s, Monaco, 2 December 1988, lot 27.

The panel was acquired by Sir Francis Cook and displayed in the Long Gallery (fig. 1) at Doughty House in Richmond. Cook assembled the most important collection of Old Masters formed in this country in the nineteenth century. The scion of a long-established Norfolk sheep-farming family who made a fortune in the wool trade, he began collecting with the purchase of a dozen or so Renaissance plaquettes during a youthful tour of Italy in 1840. It was not until 1868, however, that his collecting of Old Master paintings began in earnest, when he acquired about thirty pictures from the collection of Sir Charles Robinson, former Director of the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum). Robinson served as the catalyst to Cook’s collecting instinct and would be his trusted advisor and dealer for the next thirty years, helping him form a collection that above all ‘owed its strength to a good eye’ (see E. Danziger, ‘The Cook Collection, its founder and its inheritors’, The Burlington Magazine, CXLVI, July 2004, p. 449). After the death of his father in 1869, he became the head of Cook, Son, and Co., and one of the richest men in England. ‘Overnight’, writes Elon Danziger, ‘he became one of the most voracious collectors in England: in 1876, just eight years after starting a picture collection, he owned 510 paintings. Many of his most inspired purchases date from this period of intense activity’ (ibid., p. 448). These included masterpieces such as Velázquez’s Old Woman Cooking Eggs (probably acquired c. 1870; Edinburgh, National Galleries of Scotland), van Eyck’s Three Marys at the Sepulchre (acquired c. 1872; Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen), Fra Angelico and Filippo Lippi’s Adoration of the Magi (acquired 1874; Washington, National Gallery of Art) and Turner’s Grand Junction Canal at Southall Mill (acquired c. 1874; England, private collection).

We are grateful to John Somerville for his assistance in compiling this catalogue entry.

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