Property from a European Private Collection
BERNADINO GATTI, CALLED IL SOJARO | Portrait of a lady wearing an embroidered black dress and a gold chain
Property from a European Private Collection
BERNADINO GATTI, CALLED IL SOJARO
Pavia 1495/1500 - 1576 Cremona
Portrait of a lady wearing an embroidered black dress and a gold chain
oil on canvas
91.1 x 75.1 cm.; 35⅞ x 29 5/5 in.
The canvas is lined, the paint surface is slightly dirty and the varnish is slightly discoloured. Some retouching is visible of the naked eye in the background around the silhouette of the figure, and in raking light small retouchings to old, pin-prick losses are visible scattered in the background, mostly in the upper left corner, with a few in the sitter's chin and neck. Inspection under ultraviolet light reveals an older campaign of restoration just visible beneath the milky varnish, which would appear to consist of small, pin-prick retouchings scattered in the sitter's forehead, nose and cheeks with slightly more concentrated areas (less than 1 cm. long) above her eyebrow and below her right eye, as well as some retouchings in the background upper left and possibly in some of the folds of her sleeves. A more recent campaign of restoration fluoresces more darkly and comprises small, scattered retouchings along the upper halves of the left and right margins, and the upper margin, with some more concentrated areas upper right, the largest of which measures 5 x 3 cm. There is also some strengthening in some strands of the sitter's hair, ear, along the lower lid of her eye and her chin, in her sleeves, in the embroidery of her cuffs, in the arm of the chair lower right, and a couple of links in her chain. There are further small retouchings scattered in her white collar, in her hands, and quite sparsely through her dress, most notably to a small loss less than 1 cm. just above her necklace, to a handful of areas in the centre of the lower margin, and to her proper left elbow. There is also retouching to a repaired, horizontal tear running just below the black ribbon at her neck 10 cm. long. None of these impede the legibility of the painting which appears to be in overall fairly good condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 5 July 1996, lot 37 (as attributed to Sofonisba Anguissola):
With Galleria Orsi, Milan;
Acquired by the present collector in 1998.
F. Moro, Caravaggio Sconosciuto, Le origini del merisi, eccellente disegnatore, maestro di ritratti e di 'cose naturali', Turin 2016, pp. 112–13, reproduced pl. 92 (as attributed to Michelangelo Merisi, called Caravaggio).
Professor Marco Tanzi was the first to identify this portrait as being by the hand of the Lombard painter Bernardino Gatti. Active throughout the most compelling era of Lombard and Emilian artistic endeavour, Gatti worked under the classicising influence of Raphael and Giulio Romano, alongside artists such as Correggio, Pordenone and Bartholomaeus Spranger in the decoration of churches throughout Parma, Cremona and Pavia. Tanzi dates this portrait to the 1550s or 60s by which time Gatti was working in Cremona.
Tanzi notes in his written expertise on this portrait (available upon request), that there is no comprehensive list or analysis of Gatti's works, but that the best known cohesive group of his œuvre is formed of the portraits that he executed in the 1530s. Gatti's works from this later Cremonese period, to which Tanzi attributes the present painting, is known only through multi-figure compositions of largely religious subjects. He notes in particular Gatti's fresco of The Feeding of the Five Thousand in the church of San Pietro al Po,1 which includes a large number of figures, many of which share the same interest in individual characterisation that certainly preoccupied Gatti in his creation of the present portrait. Tanzi also compares the execution of the face and features of this portrait to the upturned face of the Madonna in Gatti's Annunciation in the Church of San Sigismondo, just outside the old city of Cremona.2
1 Fondazione Zeri Archive, ref. no. 31760.
2 Fondazione Zeri Archive, ref. no. 31758; see M.L. Ferrari, Il tempio di San Sigismondo a Cremona, Cremona 1974, p. 94, reproduced p. 102, pl. 115.