Lot 107
  • 107

MASTER OF PEREA | Virgin and Child with Saints Barbara and Lucy

20,000 - 30,000 USD
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Virgin and Child with Saints Barbara and Lucy
  • oil on panel
  • 50 7/8  by 26 1/2  in.; 129.2 by 67.3 cm.


Johanna Zeckel (1910-2005), New York.


The following condition report has been provided by Karen Thomas of Thomas Art Conservation LLC., 336 West 37th Street, Suite 830, New York, NY 10018, 212-564-4024, info@thomasartconservation.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. Beneath successive campaigns of aging restoration, this painting appears to hold substantial potential for improvement. The most recent retouching, clearly visible under ultraviolet illumination, primarily addresses wear and dark craquelure in the flesh passages as well as losses along the joins and corrects off-color earlier retouching. These layers of retouching result in a clogged appearance that is not original to the painting. Painted details in the figures' hair remain intact as do various decorative techniques such as scratching into the paint. It is difficult to be certain how much earlier restoration exists beneath a stronglyfluorescing natural resin varnish, but it appears some degree of strengthening has been applied to the red glazes in the garments and possibly to the various glazes and decorations used to embellish the cloth of honor and Mary's cloak. A distinctly amber tonality to the thick resinous layers atop the elaborate cloak could be evidence that this passage was created with a silver leaf topped with a yellowish glaze to mimic gold leaf, which was a common technique in Spain at the time. The panel is comprised of three vertically-grained boards and the joins are visible from the front as cracks in the paint. The panel is essentially planar. A cradle has been attached to the reverse: all horizontal cradle crossbars are locked in place and cracks have developed in the panel in between the fixed vertical members, indicating the cradle is exerting unfavorable force on the panel. Cleaning to remove the accumulation of retouching is expected to improve the overall appearance and reveal the aesthetic of Valencia at the turn of the 16th century. Some work would be required to knit together wear in the modeling of the faces and hands. Structural intervention is required to prevent cracking in the panel support from worsening. This would likely include removal of the cradle and attachment of a more sympathetic and flexible secondary support.
"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

The eponymous work of the "Master of Perea" is the Altarpiece of the Three Kings originally commissioned by Don Pedro Perea's widow, Doña Violante de Santa Pau y Centelles, two years after her husband's death in 1491 for a chapel in the convent of Santo Domingo, Valencia. The altarpiece is now in the Museo de Bellas Artes, Valencia and initiates a new style of painting previously unseen in Spain. The artist combines the rigid traditions of early Spanish art with the classical revival of Italian art and natural representations of early Netherlandish art. The oeuvre of the Master of the Perea consists of several works kept in distinguished museums and private collections like the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid and the Puig Palau collection, Barcelona. This painting dates to the first quarter of the 16th century and was likely the central panel of a Marian altarpiece. Several characteristics indicate that this painting was by the hand of the Master of the Perea, such as the way the hairlines are parted in the middle. This is consistent with the Virgin's hair in the aforementioned altarpiece now in the Museo de Bellas Artes, Valencia. The intricate design of the Virgin's mantle, both luminous yet tangible, remains the same between the two paintings with embroidery of precious gems and pearls at the edge.

We are grateful to Dr. José Gómez Frechina for his assistance with the cataloguing of the present lot.