Lot 1
  • 1

Ansano di Pietro di Mencio, called Sano di Pietro

200,000 - 300,000 USD
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  • Ansano di Pietro di Mencio, called Sano di Pietro
  • Saint Jerome;Saint Anthony of Padua
  • a pair, both tempera on panel, gold ground, framed as one


Private collection, France.


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. This pair of paintings is in excellent condition with only the most minor defects. The fine brushwork and tiny details are beautifully intact — note the stubble on St. Anthony's face and the sewn stitches attaching a patch to St. Jerome's garment, as well as the highlights in both saints' hair. Both pictures display a very fine age-related craquelure; mild cupping is visible in Saint Jerome's garment. Restoration, including a portion of St. Jerome's foot and a vertical loss running down his arm, and losses along a crack in the St. Anthony panel, is extremely well done. A few old scratches are visible in each picture. The crack in the St. Anthony panel runs the length of the support, just to the right of center, with the adjacent surfaces very slightly out of plane. The supports appear to have been trimmed, based on how the halos are truncated at the top and the garments are cut off at the bottom. It's possible the supports are reinforced with a secondary piece of wood but 1cm wide additions nailed into the perimeter make this impossible to confirm. This pair is in no need of conservation treatment and may be displayed in its current state.
"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

Sano di Pietro was among the most successful artists in fifteenth-century Siena. Unusually for artists of the time, we have an abundance of documentary facts about his life and artistic activity. His year of birth is usually listed as 1406, but according to a now-lost register of baptisms, he was christened on December 2, 1405. Sano spent almost his entire career in Siena, and in 1428 was registered there as a painter in the Guild. He was employed continuously by the Comune of Siena from 1445, when he signed a fresco of the Coronation of the Virgin in the Palazzo Pubblico. He also produced predellas, altarpieces and bicherna covers for the Comune. Sano was equally well patronized by the extensive network of Franciscan convents and confraternities in the area around Siena. The great Franciscan reformer Saint Bernardino of Siena had died in 1444 and his popularity and extensive cult reached its zenith just as Sano's career flourished. Sano's sympathetic and intimate representations of Bernardino and his various miracles thus found great popularity and are perhaps best exemplified by his Saint Bernardino preaching in the Piazza del Campo from 1448, in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Siena.

These two small panels originally formed part of a polyptych. One of the four great Doctors of the Latin Church, Saint Jerome is shown here beating his chest with a stone in penitential prayer, reminiscent of the four years he spent as a hermit in the desert of Syria. His cardinal’s hat lies next to him and he carries a crucifix as a symbol of his faithfulness to Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. Saint Anthony of Padua, the companion of Saint Francis of Assisi, is depicted wearing the rough hooded habit of Franciscan friars. His belt, formed by a simple cord with three knots symbolizes the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Portrayed with punched haloes around their heads, both saints are shown kneeling on a colorful marble floor, a decorative aspect found throughout Sano’s oeuvre.

The panels should be dated to circa 1450. We are grateful to Gaudenz Freuler and Laurence Kanter for independently endorsing the attribution on the basis of photographs.