Lot 103
  • 103

NICCOLÒ DI PIETRO GERINI Christ on the Cross with the Madonna, Saint John and Mary Magdalene

15,000 - 20,000 GBP
47,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Christ on the Cross with the Madonna, Saint John and Mary Magdalene
  • tempera on panel, gold ground, with an arched top
  • 37.5 x 39 cm.; 14 3/4  x 15 3/8  in.


Alfonso Tacoli Canacci (1726–1801) by 1790, Florence, his label affixed to the reverse;
Kotzenberg collection, Frankfurt;
Private collection, Europe.


A. Tacoli Canacci, Catalogo ragionato dei pittori della Scuola Toscana: le cui tavole originali sono state raccolte ordinatamente in serie cronologica & presentate davanti al trono della Sacra Cattolica Reale Maestà di Carlo IV, re delle Spagne, dal marchese Don Alfonso Tacoli Canacci gentiluomo di camera e colonello al servizio di S.A.R. il serenissimo infante duca di Parma, Florence 1790, cat. no. 28 (as Giotto di Bondone);
B. Berenson, 'Quadri senza casa – Il Trecento fiorentino,' in Dedalo, Milan and Rome 1932, vol. I, p. 20, reproduced p. 18 (as a follower of the Gerinis or Lorenzo Pietro Nelli);
B. Berenson, Homeless Paintings of the Renaissance, H. Kiel (ed.), London 1969, p. 134, reproduced p. 135, fig. 229;
R. Offner, Supplement to the Corpus of Florentine Painting. A Legacy of Attribution, H.B.J. Maginnis (ed.), New York 1981, p. 82 (as workshop of Gerini);
M. Boskovits, Pittura fiorentina alla vigilia del Rinascimento, Florence 1975, p. 410 (as Gerini).

Catalogue Note

Berenson first published this panel in 1932, placing it alongside another Crucifixion which he believed to be by the same hand whose identity remained elusive to him; 'ci lascia in dubbio se attribuirla a Lorenzo, a Pietro Nelli o a qualche loro ignoto compagno: forse è di Pietro.'1 The present panel, as Berenson also noted, is more impressive however, not only in its inventive use of space but in the expressive faces and gestures of the figures. The Madonna’s pose, forming a diagonal line echoing that of the prostrate Mary Magdalene, provides the scene with a sense of movement which is amplified by the rippling folds of her mantle, falling from her raised arms. It was Miklòs Boskovits who identified the lunette as an autograph work by Niccolò di Pietro Gerini, an attribution also endorsed by Federico Zeri, and dated it between 1395 and 1400.2  

By the late eighteenth century the painting was in the collection of the Florentine aristocrat and amateur art historian, Marchese Alfonso Tacoli Canacci. In 1790 Tacoli Canacci compiled a catalogue of his collection of 375 Tuscan paintings which he dedicated to King Charles IV of Spain, stating in the book's title page his intention to commit the collection itself into the hands of the king in the hope it would in turn be offered to the Royal Academy of Parma for the benefit of the public.3 The present painting was included in the catalogue and his label, affixed to the reverse of the panel, is inscribed: Etruria Pittrice / no. 28, with Tacoli Canacci's own attribution: Della prima maniera / Giotto di Bondone / (...) discepolo di Cimabue / nato nel 1276.1306.

Niccolò di Pietro Gerini worked predominantly in Florence but is also known to have completed commissions in Prato and Pisa. Believed to have trained in the workshop of Taddeo Gaddi, the artist closely followed models by Andrea di Cione, called Orcagna, and worked frequently with Andrea's brother, Jacopo di Cione. The majority of the artist's works are collaborations and identifying his hand among those of his partners is somewhat challenging, providing little comparative material for autograph works such as the present one. 

In a letter dated 1 August 2011, the late Professor Miklòs Boskovits re-endorsed the attribution to Niccolò di Pietro Gerini on the basis of photographs.

1 See Berenson 1932, p. 20, reproduced p. 19.
2 See Boskovits 1975and the Zeri Fototeca, under entry no. 3415 (with erroneous bibliography).
3 See Tacoli Canacci, 1790.