Lot 9
  • 9

Giovanni di Pietro, called lo Spagna

150,000 - 200,000 USD
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  • Giovanni di Pietro, called lo Spagna
  • Pietà with the Madonna and Saint John the Evangelist
  • oil on panel


The following condition report has been provided by Karen Thomas of Thomas Art Conservation LLC., 336 West 37th Street, Suite 830, New York, NY 10018, 212-564-4024, info@thomasartconservation.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. The picture appears to be in very good condition with well-preserved vibrant colors and a varnish that saturates the picture nicely. Strong craquelure following the horizontal grain of the wood support is most noticeable where it cuts across Christ's torso. Thinly painted passages such as the flesh and hair are a bit rubbed, resulting in glazes and scumbles of restoration. Even so the figures hold up very well. Some touches of restoration, such as those in Mary's white veil covering her chest and in a small area of her red dress, no longer match their surroundings. The panel has been thinned, exposing worm tunneling on the back, and displays a convex vertical warp. A small amount of retouching could visually suppress scattered tiny pitted losses and the more marked cracks which visually break up the forms.
"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

Hitherto unpublished, this refined panel, showing Christ at the edge of the tomb, supported on either side by the Madonna and Saint John the Evangelist, is a composition known through two other treatments of the subject, one in the Musée du Louvre, Paris (inv. no. 724) and another in the Kress collection, now in the Episcopal Church of Saint Philip’s in the Hills, Tucson (inv. no. K1186).  The Louvre panel belongs to Giovanni di Pietro’s Coronation of the Virgin from the Convento Montesanto, Sellano, now in the Museo-Pinacoteca, Todi, while the Tucson picture has been identified as the missing panel from the predella for his large-scale altarpiece from the church of San Martino, Perugia and now in the Pinacoteca Communale, Trevi.1  The measurements and form of the Louvre and Tucson panels are analogous to this panel, and we might therefore surmise this work also once a scene forming part of a predella, though it is possible it was conceived as an independent panel. 2  The corresponding Todi and Trevi altarpieces date to 1511 and 1522 respectively, offering a guideline by which to reconstruct the chronology of the present panel.3

While details of his early life and training are unknown, Giovanni di Pietro is first documented as working in Perugia in 1504 and his earlier known works are unmistakably inspired by Perugino.  From 1510 onward the artist’s style began to bear the influence of Raphaelesque models, certainly recognizable in the present panel.  


1.  Fondazione Federico Zeri, Fototeca Online, inv. nos. 24599 and 24598 respectively.
2.  The Louvre and Tucson panels measure 14 3/4  by 18 3/4  in.; 37.5 by 47.5 cm. and 14 1/2  by 31 1/4  in.; 37 by 79. 5 cm. respectively.
3.  Fondazione Federico Zeri, Fototeca Online, inv. nos. 24599 and 24598.