Lot 6
  • 6

Ansano di Michele Ciampanti

50,000 - 70,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Ansano di Michele Ciampanti
  • Saint Julian murdering his parents in their sleep; and the Martyrdom of Saint Catherine
  • tempera on panel, a predella


Giulio Sterbini, Rome;
Private collection;
With Wildenstein, Paris, 1956;
Anonymous sale, Milan, Finarte, 15-16 May 1962, lot 13 (as Workshop of Filippino Lippi);
G. Ajmone Marsan collection, Biella, Piedmont;
Ginori collection, Florence, 1968;
With Salocchi, Florence, 1968;
Bellini collection, Florence;1
Marcos collection, Philippines;
Sold on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines through the Presidential Commission on Good Government, New York, Christie’s, 11 January 1991, lot 39, for $35,000 (as Asano Ciampanti);
There acquired by the present collector.


A. Venturi, La Galleria Sterbini in Roma, 1906, fig. 46 (as School of Filippino Lippi);
M. Natale, “Note sulla pittura lucchese lla fine del Quattrocento,” in The Paul Getty Museum Journal, 8, 1980, pp. 56-62 (as Master of San Filippo);
R. Massagli, "La bottega dei Ciampanti: il Maestro di Stratonice e il Maestro di San Filippo," in Proporzioni, II-III, 2001-2002, pp. 83-84, reproduced figs. 104-105 (as Ansano Ciampanti).

Catalogue Note

First published by Adolfo Venturi in 1906 while in the collection of Giulio Sterbini Rome, this delightful painting depicting scenes from the life of Saint Julian and Saint Catherine was accompanied by a second panel from the same predella (see Provenance and Literature). The paintings were still united at the time of their sale in Milan in 1962 (see Provenance) but were later separated and the whereabouts of the companion panel, showing Saint John the Evangelist converting the philosopher Craton and Saint Justus distributing bread to soldiers, remain unknown. Venturi listed the panels as “School of Filippino Lippi,” given their loose adherence to that Florentine master’s style, but it was not until its sale in 1991 (see Provenance) that the author of the present painting was correctly identified as Ansano Ciampanti by Everett Fahy.

Ansano developed his style during the 1480s in the Lucchese workshop of his father, Michele Ciampanti, and by the end of the century had emerged as a distinct and autonomous hand. Until relatively recently the identity of Ansano (also known as Sano) had remained elusive and he was known only as the “Master of San Filippo,” after a Madonna and Child with Saints James and Philip in the church of San Filippo, Lucca.2 The artist’s work was at first mistaken for the late phase of the Master of Stratonice – later to be identified as Michele Ciampanti – but Mauro Natale isolated the more corporeal style of the younger painter from that of his father in 1980.3 Finally, the discovery of documents pertaining to the commission of the eponymous San Filippo panel led to the master’s identification as Ansano Ciampanti.4

The panel is divided into two sections by a Solomonic column, with scenes from the lives of Saints Julian and Catherine of Alexandria at either side. The serene Saint Catherine is shown in fervent prayer, kneeling between the wheels of her instrument of torture. Ansano depicts the dramatic moment in which the spiked wheels fracture, leaving the saint unharmed but mortally wounding her executioners. In his depiction of Saint Julian, meanwhile, Ansano choses to represent the grisly episode for which the saint spent the remainder of his life in atonement. According to the Golden Legend, Julian abandoned his home and parents, having discovered he was destined to commit parricide. He later married and settled in a far-off region. Traveling in desperate search of their son, the parents happened upon his castle where, in the absence of her husband, Julian’s wife offered them her chamber as a gesture of hospitality. Upon his return, Julian took the couple for his wife and a lover and, unable to escape his destiny, he slew his parents as they slept.

1. In his entry for this picture, retained in the Zeri archive (entry no. 15481), Federico Zeri lists the Ajmone Marsan, Ginori, Salocchi and Bellini collections in the provenance but notes that he is unsure of the order in which the picture changed hands between these owners.
2. R. Massagli under Literature, p. 59.
3. M. Natale under Literature.
4. R. Massagli, op. cit., p. 59-60.