Lot 7
  • 7

Pedro Sánchez I

120,000 - 160,000 USD
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  • Pedro Sánchez I
  • A triptych with Christ before Pilate with Saints Paul, Peter, John the Baptist and John the Evangelist
  • oil on panel, gold ground, in engaged frames


Don Luis Ruiz, Madrid, until 1936;
His sale, New York, American Art Association-Anderson Galleries, 2 May 1936, lot 76, for $410 (as Spanish School with Flemish influence);
Dr. Foo Chu and Dr. Marguerite Hainje-Chu, Tarrytown, New York;
By whom donated in 1982 to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 1982.447.


C.R. Post, "The Catalan School in the Late Middle Ages" in A History of Spanish Painting, 7, Cambridge, Massachusetts 1938, part 2, pp. 866 and fig. 354 (as Pedro Sánchez I);
J. Gudiol Ricart, "Pintura gótica," in Ars hispaniae, 9, Madrid 1955, pp. 390 and 392, reproduced fig. 338 (as a follower of Pedro Sánchez I, calling him the Maestro de Harris);
K. Baetjer, European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865, a Summary Catalogue, New York 1995, p. 150, reproduced no. 1982.447 (as Pedro Sánchez I);


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 this triptych has been repaired very sensitively. It is only the central panel that has received a complete reinforcement that bears any real recent interference. The work itself is in refreshingly original condition. The gilding to the carved framed elements has chipped and become discolored in places, but does not appear to have received any large scale restoration. The painted areas between the lattice work above each panel also seem to be unrestored. These pictures are so fresh are that there is a spider's nest tucked into the latticework of the right hand panel. The three painted panels are stable. They are slightly dirty, but the restoration, such as it is, is very nicely applied. Fully cleaning this work seems unnecessary; if the surface were lightly cleaned and freshly varnished, only a few retouches to the framed elements would be required.
"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 rare portable triptych by Pedro Sánchez  I was first identified by Chandler Post in 1938 following its sale in Madrid two years previously.1  Considered by Post to be among the “most devoted upholders of the Flemish standard” Pedro Sánchez I was active in Seville in the second half of the 15th century and was heavily influenced by the art of the Low Country.2  In keeping with Northern models, Sánchez places the scene within an architectural interior with receding square tiled floors whose pattern differs in each of the three sections.  Despite his Flemish inclination, Sánchez's painting retains a markedly southern Spanish quality.  The composition is typical of medieval painting from the region, aligning the figures in a formal, almost rigid arrangement; the central figures forming an inverted V and the saints in the flanking wings echoing one another’s poses.  Though the influence of Roger van der Weyden and Hugo van der Goes is at once apparent, the figures’ faces are distinctly Sevillian in temperament: the saints’ expressions are solemn yet tranquil in their grief and the drama of the central judgment scene is calm and understated.3

The keystone for attributions to Pedro Sánchez I is a signed Entombment in the Museum of Budapest.  The parallels between this triptych and the Budapest panel are palpable.  The face of the figure supporting Christ’s body in the Entombment appears once more at Pilate’s shoulder in the central panel here; the heavy brocades, bordering his mantle like jeweled metal plates, are worn by the hooded man at Pilate’s right hand.4  The identification of the present triptych, unmistakably by the artist’s hand, permitted the definitive attribution of a Pietà, then with Tomas Harris, London, bridging the gap between the Harris and Budapest pictures.5  Most striking are the parallels between the figures of Christ and of St. John the Baptist in this and the Harris panel.  The Christs are based on the same model, their anatomy similarly Gothic and their faces almost interchangeable. Both St. Johns are of the same type with similar poses, holding the lamb and with head tilted downward to the right with a soft expression of grief.  The elaborately patterned draperies, dressing the outermost figures and the two on either side of Christ in a satisfyingly symmetrical arrangement, are worn also by the Madonna and St. John the Evangelist in the Pietà.  The patterns are rendered with short marks, mimicking the coarse stitches of gold thread embroidery.  The drapery of unadorned fabrics meanwhile falls in Pedro’s highly stylized, deep folds with curving ends and softly molded edges.  The Christ Before Pilate triptych proved a discovery of great significance in Sevillian medieval painting, not only as an addition to Pedro Sánchez I’s few surviving works but for its role in the further reconstruction of his oeuvre.

1.  See C.R. Post under Literature.
2.  Ibid, p. 5.
3Ibid., p. 7.
4.  C.R. Post, op. cit., vol. VII, p. 886.
5.  For a reproduction of the Budapest Entombment see C.R. Post, op. cit., vol. V, p. 6, fig. 1 and  for the Harris Pietà see pp. 11-12, reproduced p. 13, fig. 5.