Lot 2
  • 2

Master of the Chigi-Saracini Desco active in Siena c. 1510 - 1540

60,000 - 80,000 USD
68,750 USD
bidding is closed


  • A desco da parto, depicting a confinement scene
  • oil and tempera on panel, circular
  • diameter: 23 3/8  in.; 59.3 cm.


E. and A. Silberman Galleries, New York, before 1965 (as Domenico Beccafumi);
Acquired c. 1965 by the family of the present owner.


Colorado Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, Exhibition of Early Masters, 1937;
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Conn., Pictures within Pictures, November 9 - 31 December 1949, no. 3 (as Domenico Beccafumi), lent by E. & A. Silberman;
The Gallery of The Surf Club, The Lowe Gallery, University of Miami, Florida, Social Reflections, 1953;
The Milwaukee Art Institute, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, The Story of Medicine in Art, 1953, under no. 178;
Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Washington, D.C., European Masterpieces, 1956, no. 4, reproduced;
New York, E. and A. Silberman Galleries, An Exhibition of Old Masters from the Collection of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown, Maryland, 6 - 27 May 1964, no. 10 (as Domenico Beccafumi), lent by E. & A. Silberman.


Wadsworth Atheneum, Pictures within Pictures, exh. cat., Hartford 1949, p. 9, cat. no. 3 (as Domenico Beccafumi);
B. Etchison, An Exhibition of Old Masters from the Collection of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown, Marylandexh. cat., New York 1964, p. 14, cat. no. 10, reproduced (as Domenico Beccafumi), lent by E. & A. Silberman;
M. Maccherini, in F. Sricchia Santoro (Ed.), Da Sodoma a Marco Pino. Addenda, Siena 1991, pp. 23–24, reproduced in black and white p. 22, fig. 10 (as Maestro del Desco Chigi-Saracini);
C. De Carli, I deschi da parto e la pittura del primo Rinascimento toscano, Turin 1997, p. 208, cat. no. 64, recto and verso reproduced in black and white p. 208 and 209, reproduced in colour tav. XVI (as Sienese c. 1500-1525);
J. Musacchio, The art and ritual of childbirth in Renaissance Italy, New Haven and London 1999, p. 60, reproduced in colour fig. 41 (as Sienese c. 1520);
P. Hohti, 'Conspicuous' consumption and popular consumers: material culture and social status in sixteenth-century Siena', in Renaissance Studies, vol. 24, no. 5, November 2010, p. 660, reproduced p. 661, fig. 1 (as Anonymous, possibly Sienese, c. 1520).

Catalogue Note

From the late 1420s in Florence, deschi da parto, or ‘child birth trays’ was used in medieval and renaissance Italy to present small gifts, sweetmeats, and wine and water to a mother after childbirth. They were usually circular or twelve-sided and painted on both sides, typically with an appropriate narrative scene and often emblazoned with the coat-of-arms of the family. Some were commissioned from a favorite distinguished artist, but most often were likely the produce to workshops specializing in cassoni. The attribution of this painting to the Master of the Chigi-Saracini Desco was first proposed in Maccherini's article of 1991 (see Literature), and we are grateful to Andrea De Marchi for further endorsing the attribution on inspection of images. The eponymous work is a desco depicting the Nativity.1 The artist is defined by his quick, uncertain brushwork and resulting distinctive style, as well as his unique use of colours; particularly of reds and oranges. Around this Nativity Maccherini was able to gather a group of nine more small-scale works which are now attributed to the same hand.

The painting hanging on the far wall of this interior scene, just visible behind the post of the bed of Saint Anne, is thought by Maccherini (see Literature) to depict the central motif of Domenico Beccafumi’s Nativity in the Chruch of San Martino, Siena.2

1. See Maccherini 1991, p. 20, cat. no. 7, reproduced p. 21.
2. See G. Agosti et. al., Domenico Beccafumi e il suo tempo, Milan 1990, p. 146, cat. no. 19, reproduced p. 147.