Lot 125
  • 125

Workshop of Alessandro Filipepi, called Sandro Botticelli

600,000 - 800,000 USD
1,085,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Workshop of Alessandro Filipepi, called Sandro Botticelli
  • Madonna and Child with the infant Saint John the Baptist, seated by a window, an extensive landscape beyond
  • tempera on panel, a tondo
  • diameter: 32 7/8  in.; 83.5 cm.


Léopold Leclanché collection, Paris, until 1892;
His sale, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, 23rd - 25th May 1892, lot 3 (as Sandro Botticelli);
Thence by descent, Count Antoni Lanckoronski, Palais Lanckoronski, Vienna, by 1933;
Count Antoni Lanckoronski, Palais Lanckoronski, Vienna, by 1903;
Confiscated by Dr. Reetz of the Haupttreuhandstelle Ost (HTO no. 292), for Bürgermeister Dr. Winkler, 17 November 1942;  and given to Hermann Göring as a birthday gift, 12 January 1943 (as School of Botticelli);
Recovered by the Monuments Men and sent to the Munich Central Collecting Point (inv. no. 6716), 5 August 1945, and sent to Salzburg in the custody of USFA (AL (Anton Lanckoronski) no. 1357);
Restituted to the Lanckoronski family, 30 July 1946;
Salocchi collection, Florence.


This painting has been requested for the forthcoming exhibition "Botticelli Re-Imagined" which will be exhibited at the Gemaldegalerie in Berlin from September 2015 and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London from March 2016.’


H. Ulmann, Sandro Botticelli, Munich 1893, pp. 122, 151 (as a late work by Botticelli);
Y. Yashiro, Sandro Botticelli, London 1925, vol. I, p. 246 (as School of Botticelli);
R. van Marle, The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting, The Hague 1931, vol XII, p. 274 (as School of Botticelli);
P. Hendy. An Altarpiece by Botticelli in The Burlington Magazine, London 1932, vol. 60, n. 360, pp. 229-230 (as School of Botticelli);
R. Salvini, Tutta la pittura del Botticelli, Milan 1958, vol. II, pp. 79-80 (as attributed to Botticelli);
G. Mandel, L'opera completa del Botticelli, Milan 1968, p. 100, cat no. 96 (as Workshop of Botticelli);
R.W. Lightbown, Sandro Botticelli, London 1978, vol. II, p. 139 (as Workshop of Botticelli);
N. Pons, Botticelli: Opera Completa, Milan 1989, p. 79, cat. no. 86 (as School of Botticelli);
R.W. Lightbrown, Sandro Botticelli, French edition Paris 1990, no. 44b (as Workshop of Botticelli);
J. Miziolek, "The Lanckoronski Collection in Poland", in Antichita Viva, 1995, n. 3, p. 30 (as ascribed to Botticelli);
L. Kanter, Botticelli's Witness: Changing style in a changing Florence, exhibition catalogue, Boston 1997, pp. 54 - 55, under cat. no. 9 (as a workshop replica of a lost original);
L. Kanter, Italian paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 1997, p. 176, under cat. no. 52 (as possibly by Botticelli, known only through photographs);
N. Yeide, Beyond the Dreams of Avarice: The Hermann Goering Collection, Dallas 2009, p. 399, cat. no. A1337, reproduced p. 187 (as School of Botticelli by Andrea Vecchietti);
K. Iselt, Sonderbeauftrager des Fuehrers: der Kunsthistoriker und Museumsmann Hermann Voss (1884 – 1969), Weimar 2010, p. 245-246 (as Botticelli or his school);
J. Winiewicz-Wolska, Karol Lanckoronski i jego wiedenskie zbiory, Krakow 2010, Vol. I, n. 65, p. 473, 509; Vol. II, p. 27 (as School of Botticelli?);
M. Skubiszewska, K. Kuczman, Paintings from the Lanckoroński collection from the 14th through 16th centuries in the collections of the Wawel Royal Castle, Cracow: Wawel Royal Castle, 2010, pp. 20, 23-24, reproduced p.21 (as ascribed to Botticelli). 

Catalogue Note

This impressive tondo once formed part of the extensive art collection of Count Lanckoronski, Vienna (see Provenance).  The painting can be seen in a photograph, taken in 1903, hanging in the Italian Hall at Palais Lanckoronski (fig. 1).  The composition is known today in three versions: the present painting; a second tondo formerly in the Hay collection, Washington DC; and another executed in an enlarged, upright format in the Museum of Fine Art, Boston (figs. 2 and 3 respectively).Throughout the history of their publication, both the present tondo and the Boston picture were largely considered to have been executed by Botticelli’s assistants (see Literature).  More recently, however, the Boston painting has been reclassified as an autograph work.2  The present painting is executed in a manner typical of Botticelli's workshop practice in the last two decades of his career, with isolated passages likely to be autograph, as for example the face of the Virgin. Stylistically, both the present Madonna and Child and the Boston panel are entirely in keeping with paintings from the last ten to fifteen years of Botticelli’s career.  The simplicity and balance of the composition, the distinct rigidity of the drapery folds and the sharpness of the outlines, all once considered indicative of workshop hands, have only in the last twenty years been recognized as characteristics of Botticelli’s late works.

Opinions are divided as to whether the Boston painting was a replica of the present picture, adapted for its upright composition, or whether both derive from a lost original.  In the Boston picture, the artist omitted the landscape at left and added a further architectural element at right, along with a vase of roses in order to fit the composition more suitably within the vertical format.  The present painting clearly shows the design as the artist originally intended.  As Kanter writes, unlike the Boston and Hay paintings, “the Virgin and Child are carefully centered, the Virgin’s knees are not included so her proportions seem less exaggerated, spatial relationships are all clear and unambiguous, indications of architecture are minimal and no still life elements occupy the foreground.”3  There is little doubt, however, that the Hay panel is a later replica of the museum painting.4  It replicates the Boston picture in every detail, incorporating the vase, following the position of the roses with exactitude, and even retaining the more upright pose of the Madonna, despite its tondo format.

The underdrawing of the present painting, studied using infrared reflectography, is decisive and firm, with very few freehand changes, suggesting the use of a cartoon.  Likewise, the figures in the Boston painting, are drawn with precision and certainty.  As Laurence Kanter indicates, while the two derive from the same design, given the amplification in scale of 10-20 percent, it was unlikely the same cartoon was utilised to produce both images.5  Interestingly, the architecture and vase, those components in the Boston picture that deviate from the design of the present picture, are drawn freehand directly onto the gesso.6 The vase had originally been conceived holding springs of lilies, in addition to the roses, reaching to the very top of the panel to further balance the vertical composition.  



1.  The former Hay tondo was sold in New York, Sotheby's, 14 January 10994, lot 4 and is reproduced in L. Kanter Italian paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, under Literature, op. cit., p. 178, fig. 38. 
2.  L. Kanter, Botticelli’s Witness, under Literature, op. cit., p. 55.
3.  Ibid.
4.  L. Kanter Italian paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, under Literature, op. cit., p. 178
5.  Ibid.
6.  Ibid.