Lot 110
  • 110

BERNARDINO FUNGAI | Madonna and Child with Saint Anselm and Saint Sebastian

80,000 - 120,000 USD
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  • Bernardino Fungai
  • Madonna and Child with Saint Anselm and Saint Sebastian
  • tempera on panel
  • 35 by 28 in.; 88.9 by 71.1 cm. 


Graham Charles Somervell, 1887;
Henry Wagner, London, by 1893;
By whom sold, London, Christie's, 16 January 1925, lot 87 (as Andrea di Niccolo);
Arthur and Margaret Glasgow;
By whom given to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1949 (acc. no. 49.10.1). 


London, The New Gallery, Exhibition of Early Italian Art from 1300 to 1500, 1893-94 (lent by Henry Wagner);
Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1904;
Virginia, Danville Wednesday Club, April 1953;
Virginia, Roanoke Fine Arts Center, December 1953.


B. Berenson, Lost Works of the Last Sienese Masters, Part III, 1897
International Studies, vol. 98, April 1931, pp. 420-422;
B. Berenson, "Quadri Sensa Casa", in Dedolo, April 1931, pp. 758-760;
European Art in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, 1966, p. 15, reproduced;
B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Central Italian and North Italian Schools, London 1968, vol. I, p. 151; 
B. Berenson, Homeless Paintings of the Renaissance, London 1970, p. 72, reproduced, fig. 107;
B.B. Frederickson and F. Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections, Cambridge, Massachusetts 1972, p. 76. 


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. A layer of dust and dirt coats the surface which, combined with dryness in the varnish, causes the painting to have a somewhat matte, undersaturated appearance. Small brown spots on the body of Saint Sebastian appear to be the result of a thick liquid having splashed onto the surface. A craquelure pattern that has developed preferentially across the grain (horizontally) is slightly raised in areas, however there does not appear to be a danger of losses developing. Vertical cracks in the paint and wood support have developed near the right and left sides, approximately two inches from the edges. A vertical crack extends from the top edge through the Madonna's head, along with blind tenting in the paint film. A moderately aged varnish with a strong fluorescence under UV light prevents confirmation of the presence of retouching, however it appears widespread restoration exists, including work to reinforce modelling in the flesh passages and Mary's blue mantle and to complete the patterns in Saint Anselm's cloak. The panel is comprised of three vertically grained boards and displays a very mild undulating warp. The panel appears to retain its original thickness and tool marks on the reverse. Structural intervention to stabilize the vertical cracks should be undertaken. Removal of the dirt and accretions and revival of the varnish should improve the overall tonality and contrast. Cleaning to remove the varnish and restoration could be considered with the understanding that it is likely that substantial retouching would be required after cleaning.
"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

Little is known of the biography of Bernardino Fungai, a Sienese painter whose work served as a bridge from the Gothic tradition in that city to the more contemporary early Renaissance movement pioneered by fellow central Italian Italian painters, notably Perugino and Luca Signorelli. Fungai is, however, first recorded in 1482 as a pupil of Benvenuto di Giovanni (1436-after 1518), when he was working on the frescoes on the drum of the cupola of the Siena Cathedral. Modern scholarship has focused on his only signed and dated picture, a Coronation of the Virgin with Saints and Angels of 1512 in the Pinacoteca, Siena as basis for attribution and critical comparison. Indeed, the position of the Madonna's lowered head, the pin on her mantle, and her drapery, all relate to the same figure in the Siena Coronation. In both of these works, furthermore, landscape plays a central role. The stark contrast between the large figures and the panoramic, brightly lit rolling hills is characteristic of Fungai's elegantly composed style.