Lot 118
  • 118

Apollonio di Giovanni

Estimate
300,000 - 500,000 USD
Sold
542,500 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • Apollonio di Giovanni
  • The Triumph of Scipio Africanus
  • inscribed: SCIPIONE.AFC
  • tempera and gold leaf on panel

  • 15 3/4 by 24 in.; 40 by 61 cm.

Provenance

Gambier-Perry Collection, Highnam Court, Gloucestershire;
Gustave Rau, Stuttgart;
By whom anonymously sold, Sotheby's, London, 20 April 1988, lot 1 (as attributed to Apollonio di Giovanni), to Hazlitt;
From whom purchased by the present collector.

Literature

M. Boskovits, ed., The Alana Collection:  Italian Paintings from the 13th to 15th Century, Florence 2009, pp. 32-35, under no. 6, reproduced fig. 6a.

Catalogue Note

The present work can be linked to another panel, of nearly identical dimensions and similarly inscribed, depicting The Triumph of Caesar, formerly in the collection of Lord Farrington.  That panel was sold, New York, Christie's, 25 January 2002, lot 21 and is now in the Alana Collection (see Literature and fig. 1).  As is pointed out in the entry on the Triumph of Caesar in the Alana Collection catalogue,  the linking of the Triumph of Caesar and the Triumph of Scipio Africanus relates to a humanist debate that was well-known at the time these panels were made and that sought to establish the superiority of Scipio, the republican, over Caesar, the tyrant (see Literature).  In both panels, Apollonio di Giovanni has painted the processions before settings of famous ancient Roman monuments including the Pantheon, Colosseum and Trajan's column, all well known to Apollonio's clientele, but not contemporaneous with the stories depicted.

Although the iconography of both panels would be typical for a cassone or marriage chest, and relate to Apollonio's well-established promotion of antique themes, they are much smaller than was typical and have therefore been considered to be fragments in the past (see Literature).  This hypothesis has been called into question, however, because both depict complete vignettes, and in the present panel, three of the four edges seem to be intact and original.  It has been suggested instead that these two scenes formed the end panels of a cassone; however, their size and the importance of their iconography would seem to eliminate this as a possibility as well.   Two alternate theories seem to be more plausible:  it could be that these two panels formed the fronts of a pair of cassoni, or that they functioned  as parts of a spalliera, a decorative frieze inset into a bed or other piece of furniture, or placed into the wainscotting of a room.    

The Triumph of Scipio has particularly important provenance, having belonged to the Gambier–Perry collection in London.  The Gambier–Perry were notable collectors of Medieval and Renaissance Art, including works by Fra Angelico, Lorenzo Monaco and Bernardo Daddi, amongst others.  Much of this distinguishd group now forms the basis of the Renaissance collection at the Courtauld Institute in London.  It was suggested by Everett Fahy that The Triumph of Caesar pendant panel once belonged to the Pucci family, who were an extremely important and influential family in Renaissance Florence.   The basis of this assumption is the appearance of their emblem, the black-a-moor, two of which appear seated on horseback, driving Caesar's chariot. 

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