Lot 6
  • 6

Bartolomeo Veneto

50,000 - 70,000 USD
55,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Bartolomeo Veneto
  • The Madonna and Child, seated behind a ledge, a river landscape and a town beyond
  • oil on panel
  • 18 1/4  by 14 1/2  in.; 46.5 by  37 cm.


In the present collection since at least 1963.

Catalogue Note

Previously unpublished, this touching depiction of the Madonna and Child is a youthful work by Bartolomeo Veneto, and has only recently been restored to the artist's corpus by Professor Andrea De Marchi.1  The figural composition is based on a design by the artist’s master, Giovanni Bellini, painted circa 1490 for the sacristy of Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome.  Bellini’s original is now lost but is known through the copies and reimagined variations of his disciples.2  Stylistically, this panel is best compared to the Madonnas painted early in Bartolomeo’s career, such as that offered at auction in Milan in 1994 and that in the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo (inv. no. 723, fig. 1) which is signed and dated, 1505.3  In those paintings the orientation of the figures is reversed and Christ turns to look behind him, his hand reaching closer to his mother’s wrist rather than her thumb.  The execution, however, is remarkably similar, from the geometric folds of rich, firm fabric, reminiscent of Gentile Bellini, to the miniaturist quality of the landscape, with slender trees shooting up between the gabled towers and church spires.  The Christ Child and his Mother are presented behind a marble ledge, a typically Bellinian device, intended to separate the humble viewer from the holy figures.

The poses of the present Madonna and Child are replicated almost exactly in a work given tentatively to Latanzio da Rimini by Fritz Heinemann, formerly in the Henniker-Heaton collection, London, and they appear again, this time flanked by a donor and Saints Jerome and Anthony Abbott, in a painting listed in the Pesenti collection, Bergamo.4  The Pesenti panel had formerly been attributed to Bartolomeo, but in her 1997 monograph Laura Pagnotta suggested it may be by the same hand as a Madonna and Child with Four Saints given to Marco Bello.  Bartolomeo himself used the same design for his signed and dated Madonna and Child now in the Musée Fesch, Ajaccio (inv. no. 852.1.391) and the drapery is very similar, even down to the folds in the Madonna’s veil.5 Yet in the Fesch painting the background landscape is more simplistic and the figures’ features more linear.  The Child in the Fesch picture sits slightly higher in his mother’s lap, looking to the left, and the position of the Virgin’s left hand has been shifted.  Based on the affinities shared with the Musée Fesch and Accademia Carrara paintings, the present composition can be similarly dated to around 1505.

We are grateful to Professor Andrea De Marchi for suggesting the attribution after firsthand inspection.

1. Private oral communication with the department, after firsthand inspection, 29 January 2016.
2. F. Heinemann, Giovanni Bellini e i Belliniani, Venice 1991, pp. 15-16, cat. no. 48.
3. Anonymous sale, Milan, Finarte, 18 October 1994, lot 27; L. Pagnotta, Bartolomeo Veneto, L’opera completa, Florence 1997, pp. 158-9 and 162-163, cat. nos. 3 and 5, reproduced.
4. F. Heinemann, op. cit., pp. 15, cat. no. 48i, reproduced p. 230, fig. 218; L. Pagnotta, op. cit., p. 279, cat. no. A.5.
5. Ibid., pp. 160-161, cat. no. 4, reproduced.