Bears an 18th century inscription on the reverse, upper left: ...immagine venerata.../ di Santa Saba... /in Roma.. /Stanislao(?) Ganganelli (?) / a che sua Nicola Colara (?) per dare di questa immagine / Devotissima / ...il giorno del suo onomastico / 24 Gen 1797
and center left: QVADRO ATTRIBVITO / A SIMON MARTIN
tempera on panel, gold ground with a shaped top
Stanislao Ganganelli(?), by whom gifted to Nicola Colara in 1797 (according to an old inscription on the reverse);
Alphonse Kann Collection;
By whom sold, New York, American Art Association January 7 1927, lot 37;
Where acquired by Joseph Brummer.
Thought to have been a student of Spinello Aretino, Giovanni dal Ponte takes his name from the location of his studio in Santo Stefano da Ponte, Florence, which he ran in partnership with Smeraldo di Giovanni (circa 1365-1442). He specialized in, amongst other works, anconette of the Madonna and Child intended for private devotion, such as the present panel. Though essentially gothic in style, we see here the beginnings of the naturalistic manner that would become apparent in his later career. The tenderness of the shared gaze between the two figures and the position of the Christ Child's hand on his mother's cheek show a sensitivity and animation typical of dal Ponte and indeed the motif of the hand clasping the neckline or mantle of the Madonna is one repeated often, such as in the Madonnas now in the Chiesa di San Egidio and the Via Tavolini tabernacle, both Florence.
Although correctly attributed to the artist when included in the famous Kann sale in 1927 (see provenance), this Madonna and Child was rejected by van Marle. Most recently, however, the painting was reattributed to dal Ponte by Sbaraglio in an unpublished dissertation as a youthful work of the artist (see literature).
We are grateful to Andrea De Marchi for his help in cataloguing the present lot, and for furnishing the reference to Sbaraglio's unpublished work on the artist.
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