Francesco Zaganelli da Cotignola
(Cotignola, near Ravenna 1470/80-1532 Ravenna)
Francesco Zaganelli da Cotignola
(Cotignola, near Ravenna 1470/80-1532 Ravenna)
Francesco Zaganelli da Cotignola
(Cotignola, near Ravenna 1470/80-1532 Ravenna)
Francesco Zaganelli da Cotignola
(Cotignola, near Ravenna 1470/80-1532 Ravenna)
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Francesco Zaganelli da Cotignola(Cotignola, near Ravenna 1470/80-1532 Ravenna)

The Holy Family

Francesco Zaganelli da Cotignola
(Cotignola, near Ravenna 1470/80-1532 Ravenna)
The Holy Family
oil on panel
27 ½ x 21 ½ in. (54.5 x 52 cm.)
inscribed 'g' (lower centre) and 'gg' (lower right)
A seal with the Habsburg arms establishes that the picture was exported from Northern Italy, under Austrian control between 1815 and 1866.
Wilhelm von Bode (1845-1929), from whom acquired by the following,
with Murray Marks (1840-1918), Florence, from whom acquired in 1884 by the following,
Heinrich Vieweg (1826-1890), Schloss Wendhausen, Brunswick; Lepke, Berlin, 18 March 1930, lot 24 (8,800 Reichsmarks).
Helene Tepelmann, née Vieweg (d. 1939); her sale (†), Lempertz, Cologne, 1 February 1940 (=1st day), lot 13 (12,500 Reichsmarks).
Anonymous sale; Hans W. Lange, Berlin, 12 March 1941, lot 2 (11,000 Reichsmarks).
Anonymous sale [Property from an Important European Collection]; Christie’s, London, 6 December 2011, lot 22 (£1,015,650), when acquired by the present owner.
F. Harck, 'Quadri di maestri italiani nelle Gallerie private in Germania', Archivio Storico dell'Arte, Rome, 1890, III, p. 171.
R. Buscaroli, La pittura romagnola del Quattrocento, Faenza, 1931, p. 348.
Die Weltkunst, XV, no. 9, March 1941, p. 1, illustrated.
R. Roli, 'Sul problema di Bernardino e Francesco Zaganelli', Arte Antica e Moderna, XXXI, 1965, p. 241.
B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance, Central Italian and North Italian Schools, London, 1968, I, p. 454; III, no. 1053.
R. Zama, Zaganelli e dintorni, per una ricerca sui dipinti di Francesco e Bernardino, fra Cotignola e Ravenna, exhibition catalogue, Faenza and Cotignola, 1989, p. 11.
R. Zama, Gli Zaganelli (Francesco e Bernardino), Rimini, 1994, p. 190, no. 73.
R. Zama, Girolamo Marchesi, Rimini, 2007, p. 155-156, under no. 66.

Brought to you by

Clementine Sinclair
Clementine Sinclair Senior Director, Head of Department

Lot Essay

Since its sale in these rooms in 2011 this panel has been cleaned and restored, which has revealed extensive underdrawing and liquid brushstrokes, particularly to the cloth that bears the Christ Child. The extraordinary, lustrous depth of colour achieved by the artist is fully illuminated, which is particularly evident in the well preserved red lakes and green glazes in the draperies.
Francesco di Bosio Zaganelli was perhaps the most individual painter of his generation in the Romagna. Born at Cotignola, he may have been trained by Marco Palmezzano and in the first decade of the sixteenth century shared a bottega in his native town with his brother, Bernardino, whose only certain independent work is the signed Saint Bernardino of 1506 in the National Gallery, London. By 1513, Francesco was based at Ravenna, but receiving commissions for towns in the area including Faenza, where he supplied the Baptism of 1514, now also in the National Gallery, for the Laderchi chapel at San Domenico. Zaganelli developed a highly individual style that assimilated influences from Ferrara, from the Bologna of Costa and Aspertini, and, less directly, from the Umbrians of the previous generation.
As this Madonna demonstrates, he was an artist of considerable emotional range and equal expressive power: given the demand for pictures of the subject it is notable how varied Zaganelli's interpretations of this are. In this example, the Infant looks towards the spectator, while the Virgin and Saint Joseph, like the angel, the angle of whose head echoes the latter's, bend down, their eyes almost closed, in silent devotion. The position of the Christ Child deliberately evokes the moment His body was similarly laid out following the Crucifixion. Christ is the only figure to look directly out at the viewer, while the others look in tender and focused adoration of Him.
The attention to detail and the setting of luminous colours against earthy ones are particularly striking. After his brother’s death, Francesco responded to new stimuli, including German woodcuts, and the voluminous, creased white cloth that the Christ Child lays upon and which takes up a large part of the composition, recall the work of German artists such as Patinir, Dürer and Altdorfer, whose work Zaganelli may have known through prints or seen in north Italian collections.
This panel was dated to the mid-1520s by Roli (op. cit.), while Zama suggests a less specific chronology, 1518-30. The pose of the Child is related to the altarpiece of 1518 in the church of San Martino at Viadana, near Mantua, although it is arguably more successful in the deployment of the arms. A certain roundness in the types of both the Virgin and Saint Joseph also recalls the earlier works of Correggio which Zaganelli would no doubt have seen in 1519, when his altarpiece for the church of the Annunziata at Parma was completed and no doubt delivered.

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