Lot 12
  • 12

Alessandro Tiarini

60,000 - 80,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Alessandro Tiarini
  • Saint Dominic and an angel
  • oil on canvas
  • 41 5/8 by 54 5/8 in.; 105.5 by 138.7 cm.


Anonymous sale, Milan, Christie's, 25 November 2011, lot 50 (as depicting Saint Bernard and with later additions to the upper and lower edges);
There acquired.


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This work is very well preserved. The heavy piece of canvas on which it is roughly painted does not appear to be lined, but the stretcher is new and the tacking edges have been reinforced. The cracking to the paint layer is noticeably raised in the dark background above the figure and around the head of the angel on the left side, but this is very typical for a work of this period and there is no instability. There are hardly any retouches to the picture. The varnish in the lower right has bloomed and become noticeably milky, which requires some attention. Otherwise, the condition is remarkably good.
"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

Saint Dominic, the founding father of the Dominican mendicant order of friars in 1215, is also attributed with instituting the use of the rosary after an apparition of the Virgin Mary. In Tiarini's present depiction he is shown preaching from the pulpit, the light thrusting him forward from the darkness around him, his golden dish appropriately filled with roses and rosary beads.  The picture was unknown before its appearance at auction in 2011 with the correct attribution but a mistaken identification of the saint as Bernard. Stylistically it can be dated to the artist's best period, probably shortly after he had begun working in Reggio Emilia in 1618. The same physiognomy, for example, is found in a Miracle of Saint Dominic from 1614 in the church of San Domenico in Bologna, while the same dynamic gesture recurs in the fresco of the Meeting of Deborah and Barak from 1619 in the Basilica of the Madonna della Ghiara in Reggio Emilia.1 The angel, too, recalls similar figures from that same fresco cycle.

Saint Dominic and an Angel may be a pendant to Tiarini’s Madonna of the Rosary in the Museo d’Arte Industriale e Galleria “Davia-Bargellini,” Bologna (fig. 1).  Both paintings are closely related through their subject matter of the Rosary.  In addition, both include the device of a parapet in the foreground and were undoubtedly intended as overdoors, to be seen from below.  The Madonna of the Rosary is slightly larger (116 by 158 cm.), however the original horizontal shape of Saint Dominic and an Angel was altered at one time, expanded at the top and bottom to create a vertical composition.  These additions were subsequently removed to return it to a horizontal format, but it is possible that the original size of the canvas has been somewhat altered.

The attribution has been endorsed by Professor Daniele Benati, whose report forms the basis of this entry.

1. See D. Benati, Alessandro Tiarini, L'Opera Pittorica Completa e I Desegni, Milan 2001, vol. 2, p. 45, cat. no. 67, reproduced in color, vol. 1, p. 67, fig. 59; vol. 2, p. 62, cat. no. 87, reproduced in color, vol. 1, p. 81, fig. 68.