Lot 5
  • 5

Follower of Antonio da Correggio, called Correggio

20,000 - 30,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Saint John the Baptist
  • oil on walnut panel
  • 62 1/4  by 34 3/4  in.; 158.1 by 88.3 cm. 


Sir Philip John Miles Bart., M.P., Leigh Court, 1822;
By whom sold, London, Christie's, 28 June 1884, lot 18, to Phillips (as Correggio);
Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 13 May 1899, lot 18 (as Correggio);
With Frost and Reed, London, by April 1930 (no. 1435, according to a label on the reverse);
Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 24 July 1969, lot 271 (as Correggio);
Acquired circa 1971.


J. Young, A Catalogue of the Pictures at Leigh Court, near Bristol: the seat of Philip John Miles, London 1822, p. 18, cat. no. 34, reproduced with engraving p. 19 (as Correggio);
G.F. Waagen, Treasures of Art in Great Britain, London 1854vol. III, p. 184 (as Parmigianino);
C. Wright, A Catalogue of the Old Master Paintings in the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. J.V. Feather at Bridley Manor, Surrey 1974, pp. 7-8, 40-43, cat. no. 9, reproduced (as Correggio);
G. Adani, M. Fontanesi, and G. Nicolini, eds., Correggio: The Triptych of Santa Maria della Misericordia in Correggio, Milan 2011, p. 309 (as a copy after the lost original).


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. A noticeable speckled haziness has developed across much of the surface of this picture. This appears to be a superficial defect that resides in the varnish and/or retouching. Selective cleaning in the flesh passages and portions of the garments has eradicated the whitish haze and these areas appear to be in very good condition. A few minor losses are found in the figure and a small area of lifting is located in the left eye. Abrasion that reveals the ground layer is visible along the lower edge of the cloth wrapped around Saint John's legs and along the far left edge of the red garment. The opacity of the blanched material(s) on the surface of much of the painting makes it impossible to discern the true condition of the affected passages although there does appear to be some wear and/or age-related increased transparency in the brown background. The vertically grained wood panel support retains its original thickness but has three newer crossbars inserted into channels cut into the back. Two cracks in the bottom half, visible between the legs of the figure, are open on the back of the panel. A hairline crack from the top edge, left of center, ends above the figure's head. The panel is planar. The degraded coating(s) and/or retouching with their disfiguring mottled cloudiness should be removed; this is expected to improve the overall appearance. Retouching may be required to visually suppress revealed wear. Cracks in the panel should be addressed to prevent structural instability and potential loss to the paint layer.
"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

This large panel, apparently made from a single plank of walnut, relates to a now lost composition by Correggio, which formed part of a triptych for the altar of Santa Maria della Misericordia in the artist’s hometown of Correggio, datable to circa 1520-25.  The original make-up of the complex was described on March 6, 1613 by the Bishop of Reggio, who noted that he saw “tres pitturas preciosas, scilicet, unam Christis, altram S. Jo: Baptistae e tertiam S. Bartholomi.1  The paintings were acquired soon after by Don Siro, later lord of Correggio, for a reported price of 300 ducats; it is unclear what happened to them after that point, but they might have been removed to Mantua for safe keeping, during subsequent conflict.  The components of the complex are known through copies.  Of the present Saint John the Baptist, there is one copy in a private collection, Conegliano, Italy, another copy in the Museo Civico d'Arte in Modena, as well as two weaker versions in the Royal Collection, Windsor, one in an architectural niche and one in a landscape.2  The Saint Bartholomew is recorded by a copy in a private collection as well.  The central image of Christ the Redeemer has been known through a canvas in the Pinacoteca Vaticana;  this has recently been re-attributed to Correggio himself.3  Recent scholarship has proposed a more exact reconstruction of the original arrangement of the three paintings.4  At the time of the exhibition Correggio a Correggio in 2008, it was suggested that the figure of Christ was placed above an earlier terracotta sculpture of the Madonna and Child (attributed by Giancarlo Gentilini to Desiderio da Settignano) and then flanked by the two standing male saints.  The triptych was further discussed when the Vatican Christ was the subject of an exhibition in Reggio Emilia in 2011.5 


1.  “Three precious paintings, namely, one of Christ, one of Saint John the Baptist and one of Saint Bartholomew.” See D. Ekserdjian, Correggio, New Haven 1997, p. 317, Chapter X, footnote 3.

2.  The copy in the private collection, Connegliano: oil on canvas, 155 by 51.3 cm. See G. Adani, et al., op. cit., p. 298, reproduced fig. 1.  The copy in the Museo Civico d'Arte, Modena: oil on canvas, 155.8 by 58 cm., ibid., p. 308, fig. 1.  The two in the Royal Collection: the former inv. no. RCIN 400120, oil on canvas, 176.3 by 106.6 cm; the latter: inv. no. RCIN 406179, oil on canvas, 159.5 by 101.8 cm.  See J.S. Shearman, The Early Italian Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, Cambridge 1972, pp. 80-81, cat. nos. 74 and 75, the former reproduced plate 69. 

3.  Inv. no. MV_40634, oil on canvas, 105 by 98 cm.  See D. Ekserdjian, op. cit., p. 236, reproduced fig. 236 (as After Correggio).  The Vatican canvas was presented as the lost original after a full restoration and technical analysis in 2011. 

4.  See G. Adani, et al., op. cit.., pp. 24, 40, fig. 6.

5.  ibid., passim.