Property from a Private Collection
(Milan circa 1465 - 1524)
CHRIST AT THE COLUMN
oil on panel
23⅝ by 17¼ in.; 60.1 by 43.8 cm.
The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, firstname.lastname@example.org, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
This work on panel has been restored, but the restoration could be improved. While the paint layer is stable and is clean, the losses and cracking should be filled prior to retouching, which would make the surface considerably more attractive. The reverse of the panel is unreinforced, but shows old damage from woodworm. There is a very slight curve to the panel from left to right. Retouches are clearly visible under ultraviolet light. These are mainly applied in vertical lines to address some cracking to the paint layer throughout the torso and the face. In addition, there are retouches to thinness in the hair, and to losses in the upper left corner and around the edges. The work would certainly benefit if the restoration were re-examined.
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Acquired in Europe by the present owner within the last twenty years.
In works of such quiet emotional power as this Christ at the column, Andrea Solario's contribution to the development of devotional art in the north of Italy in the 16th century is made plain. The emotional content and immediacy of this introspective image is here given added force by the precise attention to physiognomy and detail Solario had seen in the works of Antonello da Messina and the Netherlandish masters.
Despite his success in the genres of portraiture and Church altarpieces, Solario's easel sized devotional panels stand out as among the most inventive and commercially successful types of the late quattrocento and early cinquecento. Among these, his sober depictions of Christ during the Passion are of particular importance. The earliest of this type, the Ecce Homo in the Museo Poldi-Pezzoli, Milan, is dated by David Alan Brown to circa 1495 (D.A. Brown, Andrea Solario, Milan 1987, cat. no. 9). Slightly later is the bust length Ecce Homo of circa 1503 in the Accadema Carrara, Bergamo; the Christ bearing the Cross, formerly in the Barbara Piasecka Johnson collection and sold London, Sotheby's, 8 July 2009, lot 11, for £385,250; the Ecce Homo in the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and another version of Christ bearing the Cross in the Galleria Borghese, Rome, which introduces soldiers on either side of Christ.
The present composition is apparently unique in Solario's work in its employment of the central marble column, but it illustrates an awareness of Antonello da Messina, specifically his Christ at the Column in the Museé du Louvre (fig. 1). The present picture has been previously dated by David Alan Brown to circa 1500, and likely in between the Poldi-Pezzoli Ecce Homo and Bergamo panels cited above.