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.
This picture is in sound condition and, despite an aging restoration, holds together in an attractive manner. A moderately discolored varnish coats the surface, suppressing the full color range and contrast. Retouching found throughout the painting has shifted in tone over time such that much of it no longer matches surrounding original paint. The most notable loss encompasses a sizeable portion of the trunk of the tree on the right. Otherwise defects tend to be small in size, including abrasion across the sky, losses scattered throughout the figures, rubbing along cracks, and uneven wear. Tiny touches of restoration knit together darks in flesh passages and modeling in some of the garments. Widespread retouching in the sky may have been applied to address grain- oriented transparency or wear rather than loss. A good deal of the most recent campaign of restoration is visible in normal light due to its discoloration, and is clearly identifiable under ultra-violet illumination. Older restoration is less readily identifiable with UV. The wood panel support, which has been reinforced with metal strips on the reverse, appears to be in stable condition. Cleaning would brighten the painting and lessen the overall yellow cast to the picture, while a new restoration should better highlight the detailed nature of the scene.
"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."
Donald collection, London;
Joseph Spiridon, Paris;
His sale, Berlin, Cassirer und Helbing, 31 May 1929, lot 11;
Geheimrat Ottmar Strauss, Cologne;
His sale, Frankfurt am Main, Hugo Helbing, 21-24 May 1935, lot 81, as Aurelio Luini (unsold);
Private collection, New York, by descent from Ottmar Strauss, by 1939;
Art market, London, 1963;
With Wildenstein & Co, New York, 1964;
Where acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Vittorio de Nora, 1971;
Thence by inheritance to Chantal de Nora, 1972, and by descent;
Private collection, southern France, until sold, 2014.
P. Schubring, Cassoni, Truhen und Truhenbilder der italienischen Früh-Renaissance: ein Beitrag zur Profanmalerei im Quattrocento, Leipzig 1915, pp. 143-144, 349, cat. no. 547, reproduced plate CXXIV (as Baldassare Carrari);
T. Borenius, "Unpublished Cassone panels -Part I," in The Burlington Magazine, February 1922, p. 75 (questions attribution to Baldassare Carrari);
P. Schubring, "New Cassone panels - Part IV," in Apollo, vol. VIII, no. 46, October 1928, p. 180 (as Baldassare Carrari);
L. Dussler, "Die italienischen Bilder der Sammlung Spiridon," in Pantheon, vol. VIII, April 1929, p. 164;
T. Borenius, "Some Italian cassone panels," in Italianischen Studien: Paul Schubring zum 60. Geburtstag gewidmet, Leipzig 1929, p. 2;
Mostra di Melozzo e del Quattrocento Romagnolo, exhibition catalogue, Forli 1938, p. 145 (with several possible attributions);
A. Pigler, Barockthemen : eine Auswahl von Verzeichnissen zur Ikonographie des 17. Und 18. Jahrhunderts, Budapest-Berlin 1956, vol. II, p. 186;
F. Heinemann, Giovanni Bellini e i Belliniani, Venice 1962, vol. I, p. 233, under no. V.108 (as Baldassare Carrari);
M. Bacci, Piero de Cosimo, Milan 1966, p. 122, (under rejected attributions to Piero);
E. Langmuir, "Nicolo dell'Abate's Aristeus and Eurydice," in The Burlington Magazine, vol. CXII, February 1970, p. 107, note 5, reproduced fig. 53;
F. Zeri, "Una congiunzione tra Firenze e Francia: il maestro dei Cassoni Campana," in Diari di lavoro 2, Turin 1976, reproduced figs. 78, 79 (as Master of the Campana Cassoni);
E. Fahy, Some Followers of Domenico Ghirlandaio, New York-London 1976, p. 202 (as Master of the Tavernelle);
M. Laclotte and E. Mognetti, Avignon, musée du Petit Palais. Peinture italienne, Paris 1987, p. 137, under no. 130 (as Master of the Campana Cassoni).
The author of this work has been identified as the artist Antonio di Jacopo Gallo, called 'Gallo Fiorentino', a French painter active in Florence between 1503 and 1527, working in the wake of Domenico Ghirlandaio and Filippino Lippi. His body of work was initially drawn together independently by Everett Fahy, who named him “The Master of Tavernelle” based on a Madonna and Child with Saints Martin and Sebastian in the Museo d'Arte Sacra in Tavernelle Val di Pesa,1 and by Federico Zeri, who grouped his œuvre around the four extraordinary cassoni now in the Musée de Petit Palais, Avignon, formerly in the Giovanni Pietro Campana collection.2 The latter group of works has lent the artist his best known pseudonym, Master of the Campana Cassoni. Yet, like the present lot, these four panels are larger than cassoni and are in fact spalliere, panels attached to furniture or set into walls. All of the Master’s extant works depict mythological scenes.
This panel depicts the nymph Eurydice, daughter of Apollo, and her maids in a continuous narrative as they hunt and relax in the countryside. Eurydice wears a brown a blue dress and long interwoven braids and looks out at the viewer both at the far left as she feasts with her friends and standing in the center. The maids at the feast wearing green and pale iridescent blue appear again in the right background hunting a deer, and the maids in red and in yellow appear again at far right picking flowers and shooting an arrow into the sky, respectively. Eurydice’s husband, the famous musician and poet Orpheus, tames the animals of the forest with his lute playing in the far left background. The minor god Aristaeus, dressed in brown, goes unnoticed on the path toward Eurydice. The nymph would flee from his advances and step on a poisonous snake, Orpheus’ journey to rescue Eurydice from Hades, at first promising, would end in tragedy: he looked back at his wife before he was permitted to do so, causing her to slip back into the underworld. This panel is the first in a series of four; the following panels depict Aristaeus Pursuing Eurydice (Musée des Art Décoratifs, Paris; fig. 1), The Death of Eurydice (National Gallery of Art, Dublin; fig. 2), and Orpheus Leading Eurydice from the Underworld (formerly with Bottenwieser, Berlin). The first two panels were originally a single panel, but have been separated at some point in their history.3
As is the case in others of his works, the Master of the Campana Cassoni repurposed figures from Botticelli compositions. The hand gesture, contrapposto, and fall of the garments on the figure of Eurydice at center is similar to that of Venus in Botticelli’s Judgment of Paris.4
1. See E. Fahy 1968 in Literature, pp. 200–02.
2. See F. Zeri 1976 in Literature, pp. 75–88.
3. See F. Zeri 1976 in Literature.
4. Sandro Boticelli and Studio, The Judgment of Paris, c. 1485-88, tempera on panel, 81 by 197 cm. George Cini Collection, Venice, inv. 3416. See A. Schumacher, ed., Botticelli: Likeness, Myth, Devotion, exhibition catalogue, Frankfurt 2010, pp. 232-3, cat. no. 33.