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Lorenzo di Niccolò (active 1392-1412)
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Lorenzo di Niccolò (active 1392-1412)

The Madonna and Child Enthroned

Details
Lorenzo di Niccolò (active 1392-1412)
The Madonna and Child Enthroned
tempera and gold leaf on panel, in an engaged frame, pointed top
50 x 25½ in. (127 x 64.8 cm.)
inscribed with contemporary accounts, 'spessi' and 'pressi', in florins, soldi and denari, beginning 'a di 22 di fevbraio ff 1 s 8 [corrected from 9] a di ...8... ma[rzo?] ... s 10 a di 24 di m[arzo?] ff 2 s 6 7 d a di 2 daprile ff 2 ... [etc.]' and with the later inscription 'Angelus Gaddi opus.' (on the reverse)
Provenance
Edmund, Graf von Attems (1847-1929), Graz, Austria, by whom loaned to the Joanneum Museum, Graz, until circa 1924 and remaining with the family until at least 1938.
Dr. Alfred Scharf, by 1954, as Mariotto di Nardo.
Literature
K. Lacher, Graz: Katalog der Landes-Bildgalerie, 1903, p. 22, no. 188, as Agnolo Gaddi.
O. Sirèn, 'Gli affreschi nel Paradiso degli Alberti: Lorenzo di Niccolò e Mariotto di Nardo', L'Arte, XI, 1908, p. 193, as Mariotto di Nardo, with subject incorrectly described as 'Una piccola Madonna seduta'.
B. Khvoshinsky and M. Salmi, I pittori toscani dal XIII al XVI secolo, II, Rome, 1914, p. 61, as Mariotto di Nardo.
W.E. Suida, Die Landesbildergalerie und Skultursammlung in Graz, Joanneum Museum, Graz, Vienna, 1923, p. 71, no. 190, pl. 28, as Lorenzo di Niccolò.
B. Berenson, Pitture italiane del rinascimento, Milan, 1936, p. 260, as Lorenzo di Niccolò.
B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Florentine School, London, 1963, I, p. 123, as Lorenzo di Niccolò.
B. Klesse, Seidenstoffe in der italienischen Malerei des 14. Jahrhunderts, Bern, 1967, p. 336, no. 272f, as Lorenzo di Niccolò. A.M. Gealt, Lorenzo di Niccolò, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University, 1979, p. 157, as 'Lost after World War II'.
Special Notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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Miriam Winson-Alio
Miriam Winson-Alio

Lot Essay

As this panel exemplifies, Lorenzo di Niccolò was one of the key painters of Florence at the period of transition from the late trecento to the later flowering of Gothic painting represented by Lorenzo Monaco, whose work in turn presaged that of Fra Angelico. An associate by 1392 of the efficiently conservative Niccolò di Pietro Gerini, he worked with him and Spinello Aretino in 1401, and a year later was awarded the contract for a major altarpiece for S. Marco at Florence. This panel has been dated circa 1410-5 and is comparable in composition with the central element of the altarpiece at St. Louis: the design was used by a close follower of the painter for a Madonna and Child with Saints John the Baptist and Nicholas which was sold at Sotheby's, 25 March 1965, lot 110. While Lorenzo emerged from the tradition dominated by the followers of Orcagna and his brothers, he clearly recognised the more immediate followers of Giotto, including Maso di Banco, whose Berlin Madonna and Child is directly quoted in the altarpiece of 1402 at Terenzano, near Florence (Berenson, 1963, pl. 391) and finds a more subtle echo in this panel. The wonderful cloth that hangs over the back of the throne in this and the cascading folds of the draperies demonstrate how much Lorenzo contributed to the Florentine response to the International Gothic movement.

It has been proposed that a panel of Saint Paul in the M.H. De Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco (Kress Collection, F.R. Shapley, Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, Italian Schools, XII-XV Century, London, 1966, p. 46, fig. 114, as Antonio Veneziano, but recording M. Meiss's attribution to Lorenzo), which measures 42¼ x 17 3/8 inches and was clearly on the right hand side of a triptych or polyptych, originally flanked the Madonna. The two are stylistically compatible.

The frame is partly original and conforms very closely to that of Lorenzo's Madonna of Humility at Berlin (M. Boskovits, Gemäldegalerie Berlin, Katalog der Gemälde, Frühe Italienische Malerei, Berlin, 1988, pp. 99-100, pl. 149), which has in turn been compared with a dated Madonna of 1409 at Santa Croce in Florence.

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