MASTER OF THE LITTLE COLOGNE PASSION | The Crucifixion, with the Virgin, Saint John the Evangelist, Saint Augustine, a bishop, and two nuns
Estimate: 15,000 - 20,000 GBP
Property from a European Private Collection
MASTER OF THE LITTLE COLOGNE PASSION
active in Cologne in the early 15th Century
The Crucifixion, with the Virgin, Saint John the Evangelist, Saint Augustine, a bishop, and two nuns
oil on linen, reduced
54 x 41.5 cm.; 21¼ x 16⅜ in.
The fine linen canvas is lined, the paint surface is dirty, and the varnish is discoloured. Due to the medium, there is evidence of wear throughout the painting. and visible retouching to areas of the background, and to a vertical line possibly caused by an old fold which runs from the centre of the upper margin down through Christ's halo, face, and side of his chest to his waist. Inspection under ultraviolet light reveals further retouching through the chest of the Virgin, and to the lower half of her cloak, as well as in the dark cloak of the nun lower centre, and around the figure of St John. There are further retouchings around all four margins. In overall moderate 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."
Wallraf-Richartz Museum & Fondation Corboud, Cologne, 1888–1943;
Whence acquired by the father of the present owner.
Verzeichnis der Gemälde des Wallraf-Richartz-Museums Stadt Köln, Cologne 1914, p. 26, inv. no. 53 (as The Master of Saint Veronica);
A. Stange, Deutsche Malerei der Gotik, vol. III, Berlin 1938, p. 79 (as Master of the Little Cologne Passion);
K. von Baum, Malerei auf textilem Bildträger im 15. Jahrhundert in Köln. Gemäldebestand - Herstellungstechniken - Erscheinungsformen, doctoral diss., Bamberg 2008, pp. 105–06, cat. no. 15, reproduced p. 29, fig. 63 (as Cologne School circa 1400–15, unknown location).
The eponymous work, the outer wings of a triptych depicting a Passion cycle, is today in the Wallraf-Richartz Museum (inv. no. WRM 0038),(1) and includes a scene depicting the Crucifixion very similar to the present painting. This painting probably also originally formed part of a series depicting scenes from the Passion – however each scene would have been painted as framed pictures on a single specially prepared canvas, also known as Tüchlein, rather than in the context of an altarpiece – this was a genre that found particular popularity in Cologne, and of which few examples survive. Such series are ultimately of Byzantine origin in conception and may have served in Cologne as teaching tools or for private contemplation.
We are grateful to Dr Roland Krischel for his assistance in the cataloguing of this lot.
1 B. Corley, Painting and Patronage in Colonge. 1300-1500, London 2000, p. 113, reproduced fig. 86.