Lot 1
  • 1

ANTONIUS MAGISTER | Madonna of Humility

80,000 - 120,000 GBP
150,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Madonna of Humility
  • tempera and gold on panel, shaped top
  • 131 x 98.5 cm.; 51 1/2  x 38 3/4  in.


In the collection of the father of the present owner by 1965; Thence by inheritance.


M. Boskovits, ‘Il problema di Antonius Magister e qualche osservazione sulla pittura marchigiana del Trecento’, Arte illustrata, nos 17–18, 1969, pp. 4–19, reproduced, fig. 2; M.S. Frinta, Punched Decoration on Late Medieval Panel and Miniature Painting, Part I Catalogue Raisonné of All Punch Shapes, Prague 1998, pp. 96, 215, 353 and 426.

Catalogue Note

Miklòs Boskovits published this rare and well-preserved painting in an article on the activity of Antonius magister, whose name derives from a misreading of a ‘signature’ (in fact an altered inscription) on a very similar but damaged painting of the Madonna of Humility at the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, in Urbino.1 In connecting the latter work with the present painting – a depiction of the same subject treated in an almost identical way – Boskovits recognised this Madonna of Humility as a work by the same hand as the Urbino Madonna. The poses of the Madonna nursing the Christ Child correspond in both panels, although the backgrounds differ. The principal point of disparity between the two is that the work under discussion is in near perfect state whereas the work in Urbino has suffered considerably.

In terms of its iconography and design the Madonna of Humility looks back to late Gothic prototypes by Simone Martini and others. The shape of the panel, with cut upper corners is of a rare type that does not occur in the second half of the fourteenth century. Boskovits dates this and the panel in Urbino to the late 1320s or early 1330s. He identifies its creator as the Bellpuig Master, whose later career in Spain was studied by Ferdinando Bologna, and thus refers to him as the Master of the Bellpuig Coronation rather than using the misnomer Antonius magister.2

According to Mojmír Frinta, the attribution is supported by the evidence of the punch work, to which he adds one further painting to the group.3 The latter, a fragment, is a Madonna and Child with two angels at the Brooklyn Museum, New York.4

1 Inv. 677. Reproduced in F. Bologna, ‘Di alcuni rapporti tra Italia e Spagna nel Trecento e ‘Antonius magister’’, Arte antica e moderna, 13–16, 1961, plate 14a.

2 Bologna 1961, pp. 27–48.

3 Written communication with the father of the present owner, 6 May 1975.

4 Acc. no. 34.841; 86.5 x 80.2 cm.