Lot 106
  • 106

Angelo Puccinelli

100,000 - 150,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Angelo Puccinelli
  • Saint Catherine and a Bishop Saint, Possibly Saint Regulus
  • tempera and gold ground on panel


Marguerite A. Keasbey, Morristown, New Jersey, before 1961;
Her deceased sale, New York, Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., 10 May 1961, lot 7 (As Veneto-Ferrarese School, 14th Century, SS. Catherine and Louis of Toulouse);
With Frederick Mont, Inc., New York;
From whom acquired by Thomas S. Hyland, Greenwich, CT, 1964;
His sale, "Property of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas S. Hyland," London, Christie's, 23 June 1967, lot 66 (as Angelo Puccinelli, Saint Catherine of Alexandria and Saint Moses);
Acquired by The J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, 1970.


Hartford, CT, Wadsworth Atheneum, An Exhibition of Italian Panels and Manuscripts from the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries in Honor of Richard Offner, 9 April - 6 June 1965, no. 29.


F. Zeri, "Angelo Puccinella a Siena," in Bolletino d'arte, vol. 49 (1964) pp. 234-235, reproduced p. 235;
S.J. Wagstaff, Jr., "Hartford Glimpses the Pre-Renaissance," in Art News (May 1965) pp. 33-34;
B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance:  Central and North Italian Schools, New York 1968, vol. I, p. 349;
A. Gonzalez-Palacios, "Posizione di Angelo Puccinelli," in Antichità Viva, vol. X (1971) pp. 3-9, reproduced p. 7, fig. 11;
B. Fredericksen, Catalogue of the Paintings in The J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu 1972, p. 5, no. 5;
M. Boskovits, Pittura fiorentina alla vigilia del Rinascimento, Florence 1975, p. 247, under no. 235;
Dizionario Enciclopedico Bolaffi dei pittori e degli incisori italiani, Turin 1975, p. 255;
M. Laclotte, Inventaire des collections publiques françaises, 21:  Avignon, Musée au Petit Palais.  Peinture italienne, Paris 1976, under no. 206;
P. Cerri, et. al., La Pittura in Italia:  Il Duecento e il Trecento, 1985, vol. II, p. 655;
M. Tazartes, "Profilo della pittura lucchese del Trecento," in Richerche di Storia dell'arte, vol. 50 (1993) p. 97;
D. Jaffé, Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles 1997, p. 101, reproduced;
A. De Marchi, "Angelo Puccinelli," in Sumptuosa tabula picta:  Pittori a Lucca tra gotico e rinascimento, Lucca 1998, exh. cat., Lucca, Museo Nazionale di Villa Guinigi, 28 March - 5 July 1998, pp. 152-153, reproduced p. 153, fig. 105;
F. Boggi, "Painting in Lucca from the Libertà to the Signoria of Paolo Guinigi:  Observations, Proposals and New Documents," in Arte Cristiana, vol. 87 (March-April 1999) pp. 106-107, reproduced p. 107, fig. 2, pp. 113-114 (note 20);
M. Laclotte and E. Moench, Peinture italienne:  Musée du Petit Palais, Avignon, Paris 2005, p. 180, under no. 235, reproduced fig. 1.

Catalogue Note

This well-preserved panel once formed the left wing of an altarpiece produced either in Siena during Puccinelli's period of activity in that city, or in the artist's native Lucca.  Although the central panel is as of yet untraced, the right wing, representing Saints John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene (see fig. 1), is conserved in the Musée du Petit Palais, Avignon (inv. no. 22809).  Andrea De Marchi has also suggested that a Trinity by Puccinelli currently in a private collection once formed the central pinnacle of the now-lost central panel.The figures must originally have been portrayed full-length, although both the present and Avignon panels have since been cut down at the top and bottom in the same fashion.

In his 1964 article, "Angelo Puccinelli a Siena," Federico Zeri suggested the very early date of circa 1350 for these panels, which places them almost 30 years prior to the first mention of the artist in the documented sources.In the smooth, simplified profiles of the saints, especially those of Catherine and Mary Magdalene, Zeri saw the impact of Niccolò di Ser Sozzo Tegliacci and his teacher, Luca di Tommè, even going so far as to suggest that Puccinelli and Tegliacci may have worked directly with one another in Siena.3  Puccinelli, however, balanced the influence of these artists with his own unique calligraphic line and chromatic sensibility, the result being a work of great elegance and sophistication.  In the sumptuous punchwork of the figures' haloes and costumes, for example, the artist gives himself over fully to the display of pattern and geometry.  Indeed, the elaborate, gilded edges of the two saints' cloaks, Saint Catherine's crown and the trimming of the Bishop's mitre are executed with such confidence and accomplishment that they function almost autonomously within the composition. 

The identification of the bishop saint who accompanies Saint Catherine of Alexandria has posed an interesting problem since the work's reappearance on the art market in 1961.  In the Parke-Bernet sale catalogue of that year, he was identified as Saint Louis of Toulouse, although this would seem unlikely as Saint Louis was typically depicted as young and beardless.  Zeri was the first to suggest that the dark coloring of the bishop's skin might have been intentional and not the result of aging pigments, as the fine state of preservation and the lack of discoloration in Saint Catherine would seem to rule out oxidation or restoration as the causes of the darkening.4  This suggests that Puccinelli has here rendered one of the earliest of the extremely rare depictions of an African saint in Tuscan painting of the period.  Zeri identified this figure with either Saint Moses the Black, or -- more likely because of his Bishop's garb -- Saint Moses Bishop, a Franciscan saint who lived in Egypt at the end of the fourth century and was known as the "Apostle of the Saracens."5  Although this is a plausible identification, Andrea De Marchi and Flavio Boggi have more recently suggested that the figure is intended to be Saint Regulus.  Also of African origins, Regulus served as Bishop of Massa Maritima during the fifth century, and was beheaded by the Ostrogoth King Totila.  When his remains were later transported to Lucca, he was made one of that city's patron saints.6  Although depictions of him are rare, when he was shown, it was typically as a middle-aged bishop with a short gray beard.7  If De Marchi and Boggi are correct, then a likely early provenance for the altarpiece as a whole begins to emerge.  Records indicate that in 1383, the city of Lucca set aside funds for the renewal of the Saint's altar and chapel in the Duomo.8  This would date the work later than Zeri's assumption, placing it within Puccinelli's period of documented activity in Siena and Lucca. 

1.  Laclotte, 2005, op. cit., p. 180.
2. Zeri, op. cit., p. 234.
3. Ibid.
4.  Ibid., p. 235, note 11.
5.  Ibid.
6.  Boggi, op. cit., pp. 113-114, note 20. 
7.  See G. Kaftal, Iconography of the Saints in Tuscan Painting, Florence 1986, column 888, no. 267.
8.  E. Ridolfi, L'arte in Lucca studiata nella sua Cattedrale, Lucca 1882, p. 38, quoted in Boggi, op. cit., p. 114, note 20.