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Donato de' Bardi (Active in Lombardy and Liguria 1426–1450/51)

Saint Jerome

Donato de' Bardi (Active in Lombardy and Liguria 1426–1450/51)
Saint Jerome
tempera, oil and gold on panel
45 x 18 5/8 in. (114.2 x 47.2 cm.)
A. August Healy (1850-1921), New York, by 1917 and by whom bequeathed in 1921 to
The Brooklyn Museum, New York (inv. no. 21.138).
B. Berenson, Venetian Painting in America: The Fifteenth Century, New York, 1916, pp. 25-27, as Jacopo Bellini.
'Museum Notes', Brooklyn Museum Quarterly, IV, 3, July 1917, p, 170, as Jacopo Bellini.
'Museum Notes', Brooklyn Museum Quarterly, IX, 1, January 1922, p. 75, as Gentile Bellini.
B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance, Oxford, 1932, p. 75, as Jacopo Bellini.
R. van Marle, The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting, The Hague, 1935, XVII, p. 103, as Jacopo Bellini.
B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School, New York, 1957, I, p. 37, as Jacopo Bellini.
F. Zeri, 'Quattro tempere di Jacopo Bellini', Quaderni di Emblema 1: Diari di lavoro, Bergamo, 1971, p. 49, note 9.
B. Frederickson and F. Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Paintings in North American Public Collections, Cambridge MA, 1972, pp. 23, 602, as Jacopo Bellini.
F. Zeri, 'Rintracciando Donato de' Bardi', Quaderni di Emblema 2: Miscellanea, Bergamo, 1973, p. 46, note 15, plate 42.
F. Zeri, 'Aggiunte a Donato de' Bardi', Diario di lavoro 2, Turin, 1976, pp. 47-50, figs. 39-43.
L. Bellosi, 'Su alcuni disegni italiani tra la fine del Due e la metà del Quattrocento', Bolletino d'arte, 30, March-April 1985, pp. 39-40, fig. 90.
A.G. Candela in La pittura in Italia: Il Quattrocento, Milan, 1987, II, p. 609.
R. Longhi, 'Escursioni belliniane 1925-1926', Il palazzo non finito: Saggi inediti 1910-1926, ed. F. Frangi and C. Montagnani, Milan, 1995, pp. 367, 392, note 8, as Antonio Vivarini.
S. Manavella, 'Il “Maestro della Madonna Cagnola” nel contesto della pittura mediterranea', Arte cristiana, 918, 2020, p. 188, fig. 11.
New York, Brooklyn Museum, on loan, 4 May 1917-12 March 1919, as Gentile Bellini.
New York, Brooklyn Museum, Curators' Choice: Quattrocento, Early Italian Panel Paintings, June 1991-February 1992.
New York, Brooklyn Museum, Renaissance Paintings from the Museum's Collection, 3 October 2003-21 September 2006.
New York, Brooklyn Museum, European Paintings (permanent collection installation), 1 October 2008-February 2009.
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Lot Essay

Known today as a prominent and influential painter of the early Renaissance, for centuries Donato de’ Bardi had languished in obscurity until his importance was recognized and brought to light by Federico Zeri. In 1972, Zeri ascribed a triptych in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York to Donato de’ Bardi, on the basis of its affinity with the artist’s remarkable Crucifixion in the Pinacoteca Civica, Savona (figs. 1 and 2 respectively; F. Zeri, in a letter to the Metropolitan Museum, dated 5 April 1972). The Metropolitan Museum triptych had long been mistaken for the work of Donato Bragadin due to its signature, reading OP[V]S DONATI. From there, Zeri went on to reconstruct the artist’s career and among the first works to be grouped together in his 1973 publication was the beautiful, full-length Saint Jerome presented here (loc. cit.). The saint’s features, with a slightly protruding lower lip and mournful eyes, recall those of Saint Andrew in the Metropolitan Museum triptych and the crisp, almost geometric folds of his robe are similar to the treatment of drapery in the Savona Crucifixion.
Born in Pavia (the year of his birth remains unknown), Donato moved to Genoa, where he was active by June 1426, though few documents relating to him survive. Genoa was a thriving commercial center and its harbor sustained strong trading links with France and the Netherlands. It is unsurprising then that Netherlandish paintings would become so influential in the city and indeed Donato became a leading proponent of the Flemish style. His acute observation is evident here in the waving hair of Saint Jerome's beard, the creases of his knuckles and the highlights on the fingernails and cuticles. The greatest care was taken in his treatment of the quill, defining the plumage at its top and the gradation of ink, having soaked up into the nib over time, all minute details that are clearly indebted to Northern painting.


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