BARTOLOMEO DI GIOVANNI | PIETÀ WITH SAINT NICODEMUS, THE VIRGIN MARY AND SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST
BARTOLOMEO DI GIOVANNI
Documented in Florence between 1488 and 1511
PIETÀ WITH SAINT NICODEMUS, THE VIRGIN MARY AND SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST
tempera on panel
8¼ by 11⅛ in.; 21 by 28.3 cm.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
The image reads well, and the paint layer and support are stable. Retouchings have all been carefully applied and are not visible in natural light. The most recent retouching, applied to adjust the tone of earlier work and to reinforce select contours, is clearly visible under ultraviolet illumination; previous campaigns are less obvious due to the fluorescence of the varnish. The underlying restoration knits together wear, particularly in the dark recess of the tomb and the face of the sarcophagus. The varnish is even and does not appear to be significantly discolored overall. The horizontally grained wood panel is in sound condition and displays a mild vertical convex warp. In raking light, a few old cracks following the grain are visible on the surface but are not visually disturbing. On the reverse, repairs to old insect damage to the panel are visible and channels from cross-battens have been filled with new wood. The painting shows no need of intervention and may be enjoyed in its current state.
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Borromeo collection, Milan;
Museo Borromeo, Palazzo di Milano (opened to the public in the last quarter of the 19th century).
Isola Bella, Archivio Borromeo, Inventario dell'appartamento de Conte Giberto Borromeo nel suo Palazzo in Piazza Borromeo 7. Milano (started on 23 November 1914 and updated), "Stanza da letto della Principessa Rosanna Borromeo, 1 Dicembre 1926, Quadri della Pinacoteca Borromeo, N. 66. Una Pietà. Attribuito al Ghirlandaio. Scuola fiorentina su tavola."
The attribution of this small panel to Bartolomeo di Giovanni has been endorsed by Nicoletta Pons, who dates it to circa 1488-1490.1 This panel was once the predella of an altarpiece and is similar to two other predella panels that Bartolomeo di Giovanni painted of the Pietà. One panel is in the Galleria delgli Uffizi, but was originally part of an altarpiece by Domenico Ghirlandaio in the Chiesa di San Marco, and the other is in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore.2
The earliest work by Bartolomeo di Giovanni from circa 1475-80 is the predella to another altarpiece by Ghirlandaio in the Cattedrale di San Martino, Lucca.3 The frequent collaborations between the two artists suggest that he trained in Ghirlandaio's workshop. He also is thought to have worked with Botticelli on the spalliere depicting Nastagio degli Onesti’s Banquet in the Wood from circa 1483 in the Museo del Prado, Madrid.4 Bartolomeo mostly specialized in small-scale paintings, but he produced a few large independent works, such as The Lamentation in the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto5 and a tondo of the Madonna and Infant Saint John the Baptist adoring the Christ Child that sold at Sotheby's in 2013.6
We are grateful to Mauro Natale for providing information on the Borromeo collection and inventory.
1. Nicoletta Pons wrote a letter of expertise from 25 June 2010. This document is available upon request.
2. See N. Pons, Bartolomeo di Giovanni, exhibition catalogue, Florence 2004, pp. 14-15, reproduced fig. 6, and p. 77, reproduced fig. 3c; and p. 47, fig. 39 reproduced.
3. Oil on panel, 24 × 224 cm. See http://catalogo.fondazionezeri.unibo.it/entry/work/14957/
4. Oil on panel, 82.3 by 139 cm., inv. no. P002838. See https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/scenes-from-the-story-of-nastagio-degli-onesti/6620fb36-c65d-497b-8283-92cef5bc08de
5. Oil on canvas, 163.8 by 191.7 cm., inv. no. 70/10. See https://ago.ca/collection/object/70/10
6. Tempera on panel, diameter: 71.8 cm. See anonymous sale, New York, Sotheby's, 31 January 2013, lot 132.