Lot 1
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Priamo della Quercia (Priamo del Pietro)

75,000 - 100,000 USD
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  • Priamo della Quercia (Priamo del Pietro)
  • The Madonna and Child enthroned with adoring angels
  • tempera on panel, gold ground, a fragment


Acquired by Arthur Lehman (1873-1936), New York, by 1919 from a source in Rome via the help of R. Langton Douglas (1864-1951) and Philip Lehman (1861-1947); 
By inheritance to his widow, Adele Lehman (1882-1965), New York;
By whom bequeathed in memory of her husband to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1965, inv. no. 65.181.3.


C. Virch, The Adele and Arthur Lehman Collection, New York 1965, pp. 16–17, reproduced (tentatively attributed to Lorenzo Veneziano, circa 1400);
B.B. Fredericksen and F. Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections, Cambridge, Massachusetts 1972, pp. 237, 332, 609 (as by an unknown Romagnole painter of the 15th century);
K. Baetjer, European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born in or Before 1865, New York 1980, vol. I, p. 94, reproduced vol. II, p. 147 (as North Italian, third quarter of the 15th century);
F. Zeri and E.E. Gardner, Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, North Italian School, New York 1986, pp. 69–70, reproduced plate 11 (as by an anonymous Emilian painter, circa 1450, influenced by Venetian painting of the late 14th century);
A. De Marchi, "Michele di Matteo a Venezia e l'eredità lagunare di Gentile da Fabriano," in Prospettiva, 51, October 1987, p. 35 no. 83 (as an early work by "Pseudo-Giambono");
A. De Marchi, Gentile da Fabriano: Un viaggio nella pittura italiana alla fine del gotico, Milan 1992, p. 92 note 89 (as "Pseudo-Giambono");
K. Baetjer, European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865, a Summary Catalogue, New York 1995, p. 60, reproduced (as Priamo della Quercia);
L. Pisani, "Appunti su Priamo della Quercia," in Arte cristiana, 84, May–June 1996, pp. 171, 175-76, 179, 181-82, notes 32–33, reproduced fig. 7 (as an early work by Priamo della Quercia);
C.B. Strehlke, Italian Paintings 1250–1450 in the John G. Johnson Collection and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia 2004, p. 363 (as an early work by Priamo, datable 1428-1432).


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. The reverse of the panel is cradled, and the paint layer is stable. It seems that there is a horizontal join immediately above the halo of the Madonna, and it appears that the paint layer above this join is not original. The spandrels in the corner are also not original. Although this composition is presumably a close configuration to the original, and although the three added angels and other elements have been quite well painted, I feel quite confident about this judgment. The remainder of the painting has been toned or glazed to give it a patina; the painting may also be dirty. While this work could be hung in its current state, it would certainly be interesting to consider cleaning the work, as the condition of the paint layer aside from the addition is very good, showing only restorations in the Madonna's dark gown on the left side.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

This Madonna and Child Enthroned was painted around 1430 by Priamo della Quercia, the brother of the celebrated Sienese sculptor Jacopo della Quercia. The panel was probably the central section of a polyptych and before being reduced would have shown the Madonna as a full-length figure. Pisani appears to have been the first to publish the panel as by Priamo della Quercia (see Literature), though Carlo Volpi had already proposed the attribution in a private letter to Federico Zeri of 15 October 1981, proposing a date of execution around 1450. Until Volpi's proposal the work had escaped secure attribution with suggestions as to its possible authorship ranging from artists active in a number of places between Emilia and Venice. Though subsequent scholars have settled on an attribution to Priamo, De Marchi (see Literature, 1992) puts forward the name of the "Pseudo-Giambono," an anonymous artist active in Venice who came under the influence of Gentile Da Fabriano. De Marchi also attributes to this hand a Madonna of Nazareth on the high altar in the Church of Santa Maria degli Scalzi in Venice as well as a Madonna and Child with Two Angels in the Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt.

The undulations of the Madonna's veil as well as the physiognomy of the Child find parallels with the panel by Priamo, said to be based on a Bohemian prototype, which was sold London, Sotheby's, 6 December 1995, lot 10. Pisani (see Literature) proposes that a Saints Anthony Abbot and James the Major in the collection of the Monte dei Paschi di Siena may have been the left wing of the triptych of which the present panel was the central section. Other works by Priamo include a triptych in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,1 a Scene of Judgement in the Discovery Museum, Bridgeport, Connecticut (Kress Collection) and a mural of the Blessed Agostino Novello Investing the Rector of the Hospital in the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, for which he received payment in 1442.2 From 1440 Priamo is known to have been in Volterra where he worked for a number of years and was commissioned to paint the now lost high altarpiece for the church of San Michele Arcangelo. In 1450 he was still in Volterra where the same year he painted the dated Madonna and Child with Saints James and Victor from the hospital of Santa Maria Maddalena, now in the Pinacoteca e Museo Civico di Palazzo Minucci Solaini.3

1. See Baetjer 1995, under Literature,  p. 60, reproduced.
2. See Strehlke, under Literature, pp. 364-66, reproduced figs. 68.1 and 68.2.
3. See A. Paolucci (ed.), La Pinacoteca di Volterra, Florence 1989, pp. 112-13, cat. no. 19, reproduced in color.  The panel is inscribed GIUSTO DI JACOPO DETTO GRASELLINO 1450; the inscription is not a signature but refers to the name of the person who commissioned the work.