Lot 404
  • 404

Apollonio di Giovanni

100,000 - 150,000 USD
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  • Apollonio di Giovanni
  • The meeting of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba
  • oil on panel


Acquired in Italy by Giovanni P. Morosini, Riverdale-on-Hudson;
By descent to Miss Giulia Morosini, Riverdale-on-Hudson;
Victor Nelson, Beacon, New York;
Ellen Callman, New York;
By inheritance to the present owner. 


E. Callmann, Apollonio di Giovanni, Oxford 1974, p. 66, cat. no. 30, reproduced plate 150 and a detail plate 261.


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. Although this cassone panel shows evidence of having been part of a utilitarian object, the strength of the imagery affords it potential to look considerably more appealing. Because it is common for cassoni to be handled roughly over time, they tend to be in relatively flawed condition when they have managed to survive at all. In general, the condition of this panel is better at the left side of the picture, decreasing as the story plays out moving to the right. Overall the paint layers are rubbed, with loss of detail in many of the faces, particularly the women in the queen's retinue. Scratches are found throughout the picture, an unexceptional factor for paintings that formed part of a piece of furniture. Some passages are peppered with small flake losses, for example the dark background showing through the opening of the architecture. A heavy layer of dirt, combined with aged varnish, darkens the picture and flattens the illusion of depth. On the back of the panel three grain-oriented cracks have developed; on the front, the crack originating from the the left edge is visible where the support is out of plane, running about a third of the way across the panel. Some rudimentary retouching has been applied to tone back losses but not restore any details. Although it would require a significant investment of time, cleaning and a new restoration could improve this picture quite a bit.
"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

The subject of the Queen of Sheba meeting King Solomon is perfectly suited to a marriage chest for it parallels the journey of the young bride approaching her bridegroom. Running from left to right, the composition affords the artist the chance to include a far-off landscape, the Queen's train and retinue, and the arcaded building where the spouses meet.

When the panel was in the Morosini collection, it hung alongside a cassone depicting the Story Of Paris, offered in this sale as lot 410.