Lot 404
  • 404

Pietro di Francesco degli Orioli

20,000 - 30,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Pietro di Francesco degli Orioli
  • Saints Bernardino, Blaise, Peter, Paul, Anthony Abbot and Catherine of Siena, with the coats-of-arms of the Piccolomini and Pannocchieschi d’Elci families
  • tempera and gold on panel


Collection of Walter H. Crittenden, New York; 
By whom bequeathed to the Brooklyn Museum in 1949 (accession no. 49.138).


B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance, Central Italian and North Italian Schools, Oxford 1932, vol. I, p. 157 (as Guidoccio Cozzarelli); 
B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance, Central Italian and North Italian Schools, Oxford 1936, vol. I, p. 136 (as Guidoccio Cozzarelli);
R. van Marle, The development of the Italian schools of paintingThe Renaissance Painters of Tuscany, vol. XVI, p. 384 (as Guidoccio Cozzarelli);
B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance, Central Italian and North Italian Schools, Oxford 1968, vol. I, p. 98 (as Guidoccio Cozzarelli);
B.B. Frederickson and F. Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections, Cambridge Mass. 1972, p. 58 (as Guidoccio Cozzarelli);
C. Strehlke, “Guidoccio di Giovanni Cozzarelli,” unpublished manuscript, 1992, unpaginated, Curatorial File, Department of European Art, Brooklyn Museum (as Guidoccio Cozzarelli).


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 this painting appears to be in fair condition, with the individualized depictions of the saints holding up relatively well over time. It appears the panel was altered at some point in time, possibly including the removal of a central figure such as an Ecce Homo, bringing together the remaining sections and perhaps adding the coats of arms at the ends. Several campaigns of retouching include restoration of losses — likely the result of old worm tunneling throughout the panel — along a meandering crack that extends across the support, as well as what appears to be overly broad retouching to conceal wear or losses in some of the saints' garments. Areas of lifting are found along the aforementioned crack. The arches separating the saints were originally executed in punched gold leaf but have been overpainted with a decorative motif that almost completely covers the original patterned gilding but skirts the red and gold cherubim hovering between the saints. The opacity of the overpaint, which seems to include the blue-green background as well, makes it difficult to determine the level of preservation of the underlying gilding. An uneven, very glossy and discolored natural resin varnish imparts an amber cast. The horizontally grained wood panel support displays a moderate vertical convex warp. From the reverse a secondary piece of wood is visible, probably added to stabilize and reinforce the support, covering old wood worm damage. While cleaning to remove the greasy-looking varnish and restoration would reveal defects that are now hidden by overpaint, the overall appearance would improve, particularly with a more focused restoration. Stabilization of the wood support should also be considered to prevent further losses.
"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

Traditionally attributed to Giudoccio Cozzarelli, this fascinating panel has recently been identified as a youthful work by Pietro di Francesco degli Orioli.  Born into a family of clock makers, Orioli’s name derives from “degli Orologi”, meaning “of the Clocks”, a moniker adopted by his father, who was charged with the maintenance of all public timepieces in Siena and San Gimignano.1  Orioli likely trained in the workshop of the leading Sienese painter, Matteo di Giovanni, and many works by the artist bear the influence of his master.  Given the panel's length, it was long thought to be a predella, however it is possible the painting was conceived as part of a room decoration.  This hypothesis supported by the presence of the coats-of-arms at each end which represent the Piccolomini and Pannocchieschi d’Elci, both prominent noble families in Siena.  

We are grateful to Laurence Kanter suggesting the attribution after firsthand inspection.

1.  A. Angelini, “Pietro di Francesco Orioli”, in Treccani, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, vol. 79, 2013, online edition.