Lot 402
  • 402

Giovanni di Nicolò Bellini the Elder Giovanni di Nicolò Bellini the Elder

10,000 - 15,000 USD
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  • Giovanni di Nicolò Bellini the Elder
  • The Pentecost
  • indistinctly inscribed on the scroll, lower center
  • tempera on panel


With Fischer, Lucerne, in 1949 (as Master of the Montefortino Crucifixion).


C. Huter, "The Ceneda Master," in Arte Veneta, 27, 1973, pp. 26 and 36, note 20;
A. De Marchi, "Tavole veneziane, frescanti emiliani e miniatori bolognesi. Rapporti figurativi tra Veneto ed Emilia in età gotica," in S. Marinelli and A. Mazza (eds) La pittura emiliana nel Veneto, Modena 1999, pp. 38 and 44, note 132;
The painting will be including in upcoming article on Giovanni di Nicolò Bellini the Elder by C. Guerzi. 


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. Overall the paint layers are in very good condition, particularly in light of the painting's age. A small amount of retouching — visible under ultraviolet illumination — follows damage along a horizontal crack running above the middle of the picture, just below the Virgin's head. Further restoration below the fluorescing varnish includes reinforcement to address wear in the bottom left and top right portions of the architecture, the niche behind the Virgin, and some contours in various garments, as well as strengthening of the figure in the bottom left corner. Some portion of the bottom corners appears to be reconstruction but the strong fluorescence of the varnish makes it difficult to determine the exact degree to which this may be true. The flat darkness of the background may indicate some amount of toning or overpaint in this region. A thick, very yellow and highly fluorescing natural resin varnish coats the surface. The varnish has an even gloss and adequately saturates the picture. The support is a single board of horizontally grained wood which has been thinned; two cross battens have been inserted into channels cut into the reverse. The support is planar. The aforementioned crack crossing the width of the panel is open on the reverse of the panel. Removal of the aged varnish would be expected to improve the tonality, allowing the full range of colors to be reinstated. Some restoration would be required to address losses along the crack and a reasonable degree of wear.
"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

Dr. Chiara Guerzi identified this painting as a new addition to the corpus of works by Giovanni di Nicolò Bellini il Vecchio, brother of Jacopo and uncle of Giovanni Bellini.  She recognized it as forming part of a dismembered complex which comprised two panels now in the collection of the Kress Foundation, New York (inv. nos. K135 and K136) depicting A Scene from the Life of a Saint and The Nativity and the Annunciation; a panel sold in these rooms in 2015, depicting the Virgin and Christ in Glory; and another which sold at Phillips London in 1995, depicting The Baptism of Christ.1  Dr. Guerzi dates these panels and the present lot to circa 1420. 

We are grateful to Dr. Chiara Guerzi for proposing the attribution on the basis of photographs.

1.  Anonymous sale, New York, Sotheby's, 29 January 2015, lot 206; A. De Marchi, under Literature; Anonymous sale, London, Phillips, 5 December 1995, lot 156.