45
45

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Piero di Cosimo
THE MADONNA AND SLEEPING CHRIST CHILD WITH THE INFANT SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST
JUMP TO LOT
45

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Piero di Cosimo
THE MADONNA AND SLEEPING CHRIST CHILD WITH THE INFANT SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Masters Evening Sale

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London

Piero di Cosimo
FLORENCE 1462 - 1522
THE MADONNA AND SLEEPING CHRIST CHILD WITH THE INFANT SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST

Provenance

Belli e Della Bruna collection, Florence (according to a label on the reverse);

With Testa, Florence;

Pazzagli collection, Florence;

Antonini collection, Paris, by 1936,;

European private collection;

By whom sold, New York, Sotheby's, 26 January 2006, lot 37, for $330,000;

Subsequently acquired by the present owner by private treaty sale in 2012.

Literature

M. Bacci, L'opera completa di Piero di Cosimo, Milan 1976, p. 101, cat. no. 77, reproduced (under 'Opere attribuite');

E. Capretti and A. Forlani Tempesti, Piero di Cosimo: Catalogo Completo, Florence 1995, p. 143, cat. no. A4, reproduced (under 'Appendix A. Opere derivate, di attribuzione incerta', known to the authors only from photographs);

D. Geronimus, Piero di Cosimo, Visions beautiful and strange, New Haven and London 2006, pp. 19–20, fig. 9, reproduced in colour and p. 290, note 52 (as an autograph work);

D. Geronimus, Piero di Cosimo, The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence, exhibition catalogue, Washington 2015, pp. 137–38, under cat. no. 13 and n. 5 (as Piero di Cosimo).

Catalogue Note

Piero di Cosimo must be regarded as one of the most singular artists of the Florentine Renaissance. This reputation for individuality was reinforced in large part by Vasari's Vita of the artist which focuses on his supposed peculiarities and outlandish personal habits. However, his artistic vision was certainly exceptional, and such works as his so-called Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci (Musée Condé, Chantilly), showing a bare breasted sitter whose neck is draped with a serpent, or his Discovery of Honey  (Worcester Art Museum) assure him a unique place among the artists of his own generation, and his importance as a teacher (his students include Fra Bartolomeo, Albertinelli, Pontormo and probably Andrea del Sarto) assures a place among the artists of the next.1

In addition to the more unusual allegorical and mythological subjects that he painted, Piero also produced a number of religious or devotional paintings of a more standard type. This panel is exactly the sort of devotional image that the artist's many private patrons would have expected of him. He adopts the tondo format, then still in fashion in Florence, and certain details, such as the turbanned Madonna, suggest the influence of the younger generation of artists, particularly Raphael.  

This painting was first (verbally) attributed to Piero di Cosimo by F. Mason Perkins in 1924, according to the mount of a photograph in the Frick Art Reference Library. The complex rock structure in the centre of the composition echoes that found in the earlier tondo of Saint Jerome in the Museo Horne, Florence.2 Geronimus notes that it is the only surviving example of Piero so precisely repeating motifs from within his œuvre.

At the time of the 2006 sale Everett Fahy and Dennis Geronimus independently endorsed the attribution to Piero di Cosimo after first-hand inspection. Geronimus subsequently included the work in his 2006 monograph dedicated to the artist (see Literature). 

1 Bacci 1976, p. 86, cat.no. 6; and p. 93, cat. no. 32.

2 Bacci 1976, p. 88, cat. no. 15.

Old Masters Evening Sale

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London