175
175
Andrea di Niccolò
AN ALLEGORY OF HOPE
Estimate
30,00050,000
LOT SOLD. 30,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
175
Andrea di Niccolò
AN ALLEGORY OF HOPE
Estimate
30,00050,000
LOT SOLD. 30,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Howard Hodgkin, Portrait of the Artist

|
London

Andrea di Niccolò
SIENA CIRCA 1445 - CIRCA 1525
AN ALLEGORY OF HOPE

Provenance

Anonymous sale, Ludlow, John Norton, 1956, where purchased by Roger Warner; 
His sale, London, Christie's, 20 January 2009, lot 400, where purchased by the present owner.

Literature

L. Vertova, 'Cicli senesi di virtù: Inediti di Andrea di Niccolò e del Maestro di Griselda’, in Scritti di storia dell’arte in onore di Federico Zeri, Milan 1984, pp. 200 - 212;
L. B. Kanter et. al., in Painting in Renaissance Siena: 1420-1500, exh. cat., New York 1988, p. 346 (cited under the entry for cat. nos. 75 a-c);
D. Vatne, Andrea di Niccolò, Diss, Michigan 1990, p. 269, cat. no. 26, reproduced p. 377, fig. 14 (in black and white).

Catalogue Note

This Allegory of Hope is one of a set of three panels depicting the Theological Virtues. The other two panels, depicting allegories of Faith and Charity were sold New York, Sotheby’s, 6 June 2012, lot 8.1 The three allegories depict young blond women with similar faces standing barefoot on sparse but grassy meadow before a rocky distant landscape. Each panel is full of details which illuminate the attributes that each woman epitomizes. Hope is depicted here receiving a vision of the Madonna; the divine figure is surrounded by a golden light. In the background, hermits are depicted crouching in a series of caves and grottos; they receive their daily sustenance from their faith and hope in God. These cycles of allegorical personifications of the Virtues, or depictions of virtuous men and women of antiquity, formed a type of interior decoration (for a secular or sacred space, we know not) that flourished in Siena in the later fifteenth century and throughout the sixteenth century. As with the present works, these figures were usually set against extensive landscape backgrounds, as if viewed through tall windows, and were likely set into the wall and separated by some framing device, such as classical pilasters.2

Luisa Vertova was the first to associate this panel with the others of the series depicting Faith and Charity, they having been first ascribed to Andrea di Niccolò by Federico Zeri in 1958.3 Vatne has dated them to circa 1495-1500, a period during which series of this type were particularly popular. Vatne also notes the close similarity of the pose of this figure of Hope with that of Donatello’s magnificent and fluid bronze sculpture of Hope, one of six figures of the virtues that were commissioned for the baptismal font in the Baptistry in Siena.4 The two figures are alike in their uplifted faces and arms, the positioning of the palms of the hands, and the positioning of the feet.

 

1. Vatne 1990, p. 268, cat. no. 25 and p. 270, cat. no. 27
2. Kanter, 1988, p. 346
3. Written communication with the owners of Faith and Charity dated 5 July 1958, cited in the 2012 auction catalogue
4. Vatne 1990, p. 192

Howard Hodgkin, Portrait of the Artist

|
London