BONIFACIO DE' PITATI, CALLED BONIFACIO VERONESE (VERONA 1487-1553 VENICE)
BONIFACIO DE' PITATI, CALLED BONIFACIO VERONESE (VERONA 1487-1553 VENICE)
BONIFACIO DE' PITATI, CALLED BONIFACIO VERONESE (VERONA 1487-1553 VENICE)
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BONIFACIO DE' PITATI, CALLED BONIFACIO VERONESE (VERONA 1487-1553 VENICE)
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Specifed lots (sold and unsold) marked with a fill… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
BONIFACIO DE' PITATI, CALLED BONIFACIO VERONESE (VERONA 1487-1553 VENICE)

Adoration of the Shepherds

Details
BONIFACIO DE' PITATI, CALLED BONIFACIO VERONESE (VERONA 1487-1553 VENICE)
Adoration of the Shepherds
oil on canvas
61 x 78 1/8 in. (154.9 x 198.4 cm.)
Provenance
Palazzo Bagadoni.
Sir William Lowther, 2nd Bt., and 2nd Viscount Lowther, later 1st Earl of Lonsdale (1757-1844), Lowther Castle, acquired in the 18th Century, and by descent to the following,
Lancelot Lowther, 6th Earl of Lonsdale (1867-1953), Lowther Castle.
Surgeon-Captain William G. Thwaytes (d. 1965), Holesfoot Estate, Cumbria.
Anonymous sale [Property of a Gentleman]; Christie's, London, 27 November 1970, lot 84.
Literature
S. Simonetti, ‘Profilo de Bonifacio de’ Pitati’, Saggi e Memorie di storia dell'arte, 1986, XV, p. 129, no. A253, under ‘Opere Attribuite’.
Special notice

Specifed lots (sold and unsold) marked with a filled square ( ¦ ) not collected from Christie’s, 8 King Street, London SW1Y 6QT by 5.00 pm on the day of the sale will, at our option, be removed to Crown Fine Art (details below). Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent ofsite. If the lot is transferred to Crown Fine Art, it will be available for collection from 12.00 pm on the second business day following the sale. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Crown Fine Art. All collections from Crown Fine Art will be by prebooked appointment only.

Brought to you by

Clementine Sinclair
Clementine Sinclair Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Painted on a grand scale, this canvas is a fine work of Bonifacio Veronese’s early maturity. Close in style and date to the Adoration of the Magi of 1529-30 for the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi, it shows a great richness of incident and attention to detail, with the rustic pipes hanging from the belt of the shepherd in red, the child feeding the dog and the servant leading the animals to the stable behind the Madonna. The picture provides one of the earliest illustrations of Bonifacio’s interest in central Italian art with the borrowing of the two foremost shepherds from the figures of Peter and Andrew in Raphael’s cartoon of the Miraculous Draught of Fishes of 1516 (London, Victoria and Albert Museum). Although he could have known this composition by way of Ugo da Carpi’s chiaroscuro woodcut of circa 1518, the fact that he shows the figures in the same sense as in Raphael’s original, and not in the reverse sense adopted by Ugo, suggests that he may also have known the cartoon in the form of a drawing. Bonifacio’s composition in turn clearly served as an important inspiration for the series of Adoration of the Shepherds dating from the early 1540s by his pupil Jacopo Bassano (notably that of 1546 in the Royal Collection, Hampton Court), and perhaps in part also for Jacopo’s Miraculous Draught of Fishes of 1545 (Washington, National Gallery of Art), which repeats the central figure who advances with outstretched arms.
The picture appeared as ‘Venetian School, 16th century’ in the renowned sale of the property of the Earls of Lonsdale at Lowther Castle, Westmoreland, in 1947 (1st Day, 29 April, lot 1721), where it was bought by the Surgeon Captain W. G. Thwaytes, Penrith. It was subsequently presented for sale with the correct attribution to Bonifacio at Christie’s, London in 1970. The sale catalogue gives the provenance as ‘Palazzo Bagadoni’ (without any place name and possibly with a mistaken spelling, but perhaps referring to a Palazzo Bragadin in Venice), and states that it was ‘acquired by the 1st Earl in the 18th century’. This presumably refers to James Lowther, 1st Earl (1736-1802), a notable collector; although the possibility cannot be excluded that it was acquired instead by his cousin and heir William Lowther, 1st Earl of the second creation (1757-1844), following the building of the present Castle (completed in 1814), or by the 2nd Earl (1787-1872), another prolific collector. Although the painting was listed under doubtful attributions by Simonetti on the basis of an old photograph (op. cit.), its recent re-emergence shows it to be of exceptional quality.
We are grateful to Peter Humfrey for confirming the attribution after first hand inspection, and for his kind assistance with this entry. The picture will be included in his forthcoming catalogue raisonné on the artist.

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