Sotheby’s is delighted to present this fascinating collection of paintings, nearly exclusively from the Italian school, which was brought together in the 1960s and has not been on the market since. The nucleus of the group comprises of different Renaissance interpretations of the theme of the Madonna and Child. No fewer than nine such examples are presented in this collection, and each witnesses how the subject was depicted in different parts of Italy. The Florentine School is very well represented, as is to be expected given that Florence was the most prolific artistic center in Italy at the time, but less common works from Liguria (lot 7) and Rome (lot 4) also make up the group. Perhaps the rarest work in the collection is a Pietà (lot 3) by the late fourteenth-century Neapolitan artist, Roberto d’Oderisio, who worked at the court of Charles III, known as Carlo Durazzo.
The legacy of many of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance is discernible in the collection: Giovanni Bellini’s style is inescapable in Bartolomeo Veneto’s Madonna and Child (lot 6), while Pietro Perugino’s influence in Umbria can be witnessed in Giannicola di Paolo’s treatment of the same subject (lot 1). Perhaps the most famous Italian artist of this period, Sandro Botticelli, is well represented by an impressive painting which for a time was considered to be by his very hand, but which has now been associated his studio. The Baptism of Christ (lot 12) does not follow a known prototype but is heavily indebted to Botticelli’s idiom.