THE MASTER OF THE ARMA CHRISTI OF SAN LORENZO | HORATIUS COCLES DEFENDING THE BRIDGE TO ROME FROM THE ETRUSCANS; GAIUS MUCIUS SCAEVOLA IN THE ETRUSCAN CAMP, THRUSTING HIS HAND INTO A FIRE (A PAIR)
Property of a Private Collector
Property of a Private Collector
THE MASTER OF THE ARMA CHRISTI OF SAN LORENZO
Active in Verona end of the fifteenth century
HORATIUS COCLES DEFENDING THE BRIDGE TO ROME FROM THE ETRUSCANS; GAIUS MUCIUS SCAEVOLA IN THE ETRUSCAN CAMP, THRUSTING HIS HAND INTO A FIRE (A PAIR)
inscribed on the reverse, on export stamps, both: [IMPERIAL REGIO UFFICIO DI] SPED[IZIONI] DEL [...] PROV[...] IN VERONA
a pair of tondi, both oil on panel, gold ground
both, diameter: 10½ in.; 26.7 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, email@example.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
Both of these paintings are in very good condition overall. Neither has any reinforcements on their reverse, and wax seals are visible on both. Most of the retouching is to the small areas of blue sky and the shadows of the mountains beneath the castles on the hills of both pictures. There are some other careful retouches to slight weakness, which is not unexpected. In the composition with the dog in the lower center, there are slightly more retouches in the middle distance.
"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."
Verona, until 19th century (when attributed to Girolamo dai Libri, according to old seals and labels on the verso);
Trotti collection, Paris, before 1920 (according to records from 1932 in the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence);
Dame Nellie Melba, GBE (1861- 1931), Australia, by the mid-1920s;
Thence by inheritance to her granddaughter, Miss Armstrong;
Thence by descent to The Earl of Westmorland;
By whom anonymously sold, ("The Property of a Gentleman"), London, Sotheby's, 10 July 2014, lot 191;
M. Vinco, Cassoni: Pittura profana del Rinascimiento a Verona, Milan 2018, pp. 161-64, cats. 39.3 and 39.4, reproduced in color p. 163 and color detail of the second panel p. 164.
Unknown to the general public until they were sold at Sotheby’s London in 2014, these two tondi form a set of four with two other tondi now in the Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig that depict The priests begging with Coriolanus not to attack Rome and Veturia and Volumnia and their two sons convince Coriolanus not to attack Rome. The anonymous artist known as the Master of the Arma Christi of San Lorenzo was a collaborator of Domenico Morone, and the present panels can be attributed to his mature period. While the two Leipzig panels recount the story of Roman nobleman and general Coriolanus, the present two panels instead recount episodes of great civic virtue relating to the struggles between the Romans and Etruscans.
The first scene shows Horatius Cocles as he defended Rome against the advancing Etruscan troops, led by Porsenna and two companions, despite the crumbling bridge behind him. Bravely, Horatius dismissed his companions, and resisted the Etruscans until he finally jumped into the Tiber and saved himself by swimming away. The second scene shows the dramatic moment when Gaius Mucius Scaevola holds his own hand in the fire as punishment for not succeeding at killing Porsenna. The four panels once decorated wooden chests bearing the family's coat of arms and were likely commissioned for a newly married couple, as was common practice in fifteenth-century Verona.
A note on provenance: Dame Nellie Melba, GBE (1861 – 1931) was an Australian operatic soprano who became one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian Era and the early twentieth century, and the first person from her country to receive international recognition as a classical musician.