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.
A typical age-appropriate craquelure exists, with some mild cupping following the cracks; the paint appears stable. Restoration, which appears to be fairly recent, is not visible under normal light, but can be discerned clearly with UV illumination. Retouching has been applied to visually reduce the appearance of cracks in passages where the craquelure distracts from the modeling, and to address scattered losses and typical age-related wear across the picture. Some contours are reinforced, including strands in the hair of the hair of the central figure with his back to the viewer and the figure with upraised arms to his right. While the halos appear to have been reinforced with gold leaf, wear in the gold background has been left alone. The varnish is clear with an even gloss. The wood panel support, comprised of a single horizontally grained board, appears to retain its original thickness and displays a mild vertical convex warp. Strips of wood approximately 1cm wide have been nailed into the panel around the perimeter, presumably to aid in framing. This picture shows no need of treatment and may be enjoyed in its current state.
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Private collection, Florence.
This painting will be published in Dr. Gail Elizabeth Solberg's forthcoming book, Taddeo Di Bartolo: Siena's Painter in the Early Quattrocento.
This previously unpublished panel is a notable addition to the oeuvre of one of the most acclaimed Sienese artists of the early 15th century. Taddeo di Bartolo ran a highly successful workshop, as witnessed through the number of commissions received from patrons both in and outside of Siena. Among Di Bartolo's more influential patrons were the major mercantile and banking families of Pisa (the Casassi and Sardi), the noble Spinola family of Genoa, and the Cardinal Rinaldo Brancacci of Rome. He had a great influence not only on his close contemporaries like Andrea di Bartolo Cini (1360 - 1428), but also younger artists who participated in his workshop like Giovanni di Paolo (1403 - 1482).
We are grateful to Dr. Gail Elizabeth Solberg for endorsing the attribution to Taddeo di Bartolo on the basis of photographs and for her assistance with the cataloguing of this lot. She believes this painting was executed circa 1405 with workshop assistance. The detailed rocky landscape, haloes with punched decoration, and drapery folds correspond stylistically with other works by Taddeo, such as the Crucifixion panel from 1401-04 in the Art Institute of Chicago.1 The sarcophagus decorated with squared stones is another element Taddeo repeats in his compositions as seen in the Dormition of the Virgin in the Landesmuseum Hannover.2
1. Tempera on panel, 37.6 by 72.4 cm., inv. no. 1933.1033. See https://www.artic.edu/artworks/16234/the-crucifixion
2. Tempera on panel, 33.5 by 29.5 cm., inv. no. 297. See http://catalogo.fondazionezeri.unibo.it/entry/work/8290/