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View full screen - View 1 of Lot 6. The Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin | 《聖母升天及加冕》.

The Property of a Lady | 私人收藏

Callisto Piazza

The Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin | 《聖母升天及加冕》

Auction Closed

December 10, 06:47 PM GMT


80,000 - 120,000 GBP

Lot Details


The Property of a Lady


Callisto Piazza


Lodi 1500 - circa 1561

The Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin


oil on panel, with a painted arched top


261 x 134.6 cm.; 102 3/4 x 53 in.

261 x 134.6 公分;102 ¾ x 53 英寸

Commissioned by Battista Rusca for Santa Maria degli Angeli in Lugano in 1548;

Venice, Accademia Sale, 1839 (as Gaudenzio);

Count Cesare collection, Milan;

The Rev. Walter Davenport Bromley (1787–1863), Wootton Hall, Staffordshire;

His deceased sale, London, Christie’s, 13 June 1863, lot 150, to Webb (as Gaudenzio);

Henry Pelham-Clinton, 7th Duke of Newcastle (1864–1928), Clumber, Worksop, Nottinghamshire;

By descent to Henry, Earl of Lincoln, subsequently 9th Duke of Newcastle (1907–1988);

His sale, London, Christie's, 4 June 1937, lot 95 to Bellesi (as Savoldo);

With Contini Bonacossi, Florence;

Acquired in 1938 for the Samuel H. Kress Collection;

By whom donated to the University of the Pacific, Stockton, California;

By whom sold, New York, Christie's, 16 January 1992, lot 124, for $121,000 (here and below as Callisto Piazza);

Private collection, United Kingdom.

M.L. Ferrari, ‘Calisto de la Piazza’, Paragone, May 1965, pp. 39 and 45, note 10, reproduced pl. 35;

F.R. Shapley, Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Italian Paintings, Fifteenth and Sixteenth Century, II, New York 1968, p. 91, no. K520, reproduced fig. 219;

B. Fredericksen and F. Zeri, Census of pre-Nineteenth Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections, Cambridge (Mass.) 1972, p. 163;

F.R. Shapley, Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, Italian Paintings, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century, Addenda to Volume II, III, New York 1973, p. 391, no. P.91-K520;

G. Bolaffi (ed.), Dizianario Enciclopedico dei Pittori, etc., IX, Turin 1975, p. 1;

M. Marubbi, in Natura e Maniera tra Tiziano e Caravaggio. Le ceneri violette di Giorgione, exh. cat., Milan 2004, pp. 222–23, n. 65;

M. Tanzi, ‘Tre spunti per “Calisto de la Piaza”’, in Prospettiva, 119–20, 2005 [November 2006], pp. 112–26;

M. Tanzi, in Il Rinascimento nelle terre ticinesi. Da Bramantino a Bernardino Luini, exh. cat., Milan 2010, p. 108;

G. Agosti, in Il Rinascimento nelle terre Ticinesi 2. Dal territorio al Museo, Bellinzona 2018.

In this large and little-known altarpiece, Callisto Piazza, one of the dominant forces in Lombard painting in the mid-sixteenth century, combines two oft-depicted episodes from the life of the Virgin. Both the Assumption and the Coronation of the Virgin are shown: in the lower half of the panel we find the apostles, gesticulating in amazement at the empty tomb, while in the upper part we see Christ crowning his Mother in the heavenly presence of musicians, a choir of angels and the Holy Spirit.

Both the panel’s commission and its precise whereabouts since 1839 are known. In 1548 in Milan, Battista Rusca commissioned Callisto Piazza to paint a triptych for the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Lugano. The commission required the artist to produce an altarpiece with carved Corinthian columns, according to a model by Cristoforo Lombardi, which was to depict the Assumption in the centre while the wings, half the size of the central panel, were to show Saints Paul and Francis, and Bernard and Peter Martyr. These are now in the Sorlini collection, in the Castello di Montegalda. Little is known about the patron, Battista Rusca. Upon his death, it was his brother Bernardino who was to check on the progress of the commission, but contact with Callisto was in fact maintained through the other brother, Pietro Martire Rusca, a notable figure in the Dominican order, and prior of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.1 Pietro Martire Rusca had also commissioned a family chapel in the now-destroyed church of San Francesco in Lugano.

The panel subsequently appeared in a sale in Venice as by Gaudenzio Ferrari, before finding its way to a Milanese collection. From there, it was sold in London in 1863, where it was acquired by the Duke of Newcastle. Sold once more through Christie’s in 1937, this time as by Savoldo, the altarpiece was acquired by the celebrated dealer Contini Bonacossi who sold it the following year to Samuel Kress, who in turn donated it to the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. While the work was in Stockton, it was studied by several scholars, according to Shapley: Longhi attributed it to Callisto; Suida thought it was a collaboration with Cavagna; Venturi attributed it to Moroni and Cavagna; Fiocco thought it was from Brescia in the mid-sixteenth century – perhaps Pietro Marone; Berenson felt it was a Brescian work from around 1550. Since Ferrari's article of 1965, the attribution to Callisto has not been doubted, though the painting has not received as much attention as the rest of the artist's œuvre, no doubt because it did not feature in the landmark exhibition in 1987 devoted to the artist and his brothers.

The influence of several of Callisto's Lombard contemporaries can be felt in the work, from the metallic tonalities of the drapery and the facial types of the apostles, which echo the work of Savoldo, to Moretto da Brescia's bipartite division between the heavenly and earthly realms, such as his Assumption of the Virgin in Brescia. The folds of the drapery and the facial types in the upper part of the present panel can be compared to those found in Callisto's Baptism of Christ in the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan.

1 D. Mirabile, La committenza della famiglia Rusca nella Lombardia del Rinascimento, PhD thesis, l’Università Statale di Milano, supervised by Prof. Giovanni Agosti, academic year 2004–05.