PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION
John Rushout, 2nd Lord Northwick (1770–1859), Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham;
His posthumous sale, Phillips, on the premises, 3 August 1859, lot 542, for 23 guineas (as Vincenzio Civerchio) to Colnaghi, possibly on behalf of Drax;
(Presumably) John Samuel Wanley Sawbridge-Erle-Drax (1800–1887), M.P.;
By descent to his great-nephew, J.C.W. Sawbridge-Erle-Drax, Olantigh Towers, Wye, Kent;
By whom sold, London, Christie's, 28 June 1929, lot 88, for 320 guineas to Coureau (as Civerchio);
With Julius Böhler, Munich;
Alfred Hausammann, Zurich;
By whom posthumously sold, London, Christie's, 10 July 2002, lot 113, where acquired by the present owner for £130,000 (as Altobello Melone).
M. Tanzi, 'Novità e revisioni per Altobello Melone e Gianfrancesco Bembo', in Ricerche di Storia d'Arte, 1982, 17, pp. 51–52, reproduced fig. 3 (as Melone);
F. Frangi in M. Gregori (ed.), Pittura a Cremona dal Romanico al Settecento, Milan 1990, pp. 251–52, reproduced pl. 49 (as Melone).
As Tanzi notes, the present work, executed early in the artist's career around 1510, is closely linked to Altobello's Madonna and Child in Bergamo, in which the influence of Giorgione is unmistakable. Frangi specifically points to Cima's influence in the present work, linking it to the latter's Saint Jerome at the National Gallery, London, particularly in the landscape setting and in the figure of the present kneeling Saint Jerome, who derives from Giovanni Bellini (for both see Literature). Frangi further notes similarities with the young Garofalo, who was active in Ferrara.
In the nineteenth century the picture formed part of the celebrated Northwick collection, which was sold in 1859 and 1860. The collection included countless masterpieces, including an impressive group now in the National Gallery, London: Raphael's Saint Catherine of Alexandria; Moretto's Madonna and Child with Saints; Francia's Portrait of Bartolomeo Bianchini; Beccafumi's Tanaquil and Marcia; Carracci's Domine, Quo Vadis?; and Lorenzo di Credi's Madonna and Child. Nine other pictures from Northwick's collection, including the present work, then passed into another excellent collection, that housed at Olantigh Towers in Kent.
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