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6

Bartolomeo di Giovanni

Saint Stephen; Saint Augustine:

Property from the Martello Collection

Bartolomeo di Giovanni

Bartolomeo di Giovanni

Saint Stephen; Saint Augustine:

Saint Stephen; Saint Augustine:

Property from the Martello Collection

Bartolomeo di Giovanni

Documented in Florence between 1488 and 1511

Saint Stephen;

Saint Augustine:


a pair, both tempera on panel 

each panel: 8 ½ by 8 ⅝ in.; 21.5 by 21.9 cm.

each framed: 13 by 13 ⅛ in.; 33 by 33.3 cm.

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Samuel Woodburn and Miss Woodburn, London;

Their sale, London, Christie's, 9-11 June 1860, lots 12 and 15 (as Lorenzo di Credi);

George Greville (1818-1893), 4th Earl of Warwick, Warwick Castle;

Thence by descent and sold ("Sold by Order of the Trustees of the Warwick Castle Settlement"), London, Christie’s, 21 June 1968, lots 50-51, to Pollard;

With Thomas Agnews & Sons, London;

Professor and Mrs. Walter Kaiser, Cambridge;

Anonymous sale, New York, Christie's, 18 January 1983, lot 30;

There acquired by the present collector.

B. Berenson, The Florentine Painters of the Renaissance, New York 1909, p. 99;

R. van Marle, The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting, vol. XIII, The Hague 1931, p. 258, cat. no. 1;

E. Fahy, “Bartolomeo di Giovanni reconsidered,” in Apollo, XCVII, London 1973, pp. 466, 468;

E. Fahy, Some Followers of Domenico Ghirlandajo, London 1976, pp. 35-7, 129;

M. Boskovits, The Martello Collection: Paintings, Drawings and Miniatures from the XIV to the XVIIIth centuries, Florence 1985, pp. 32-35;

N. Pons, Bartolomeo di Giovanni, Florence 2004, p. 60, reproduced, p. 59.

The two panels in the present lot were originally part of a larger predella comprising of a nativity scene flanked in between six saints. All but one of the panels can be accounted for: Saints Michael and Raphael are in Dresden at the Gemäldegalerie,1 a Holy Bishop is in Kingston upon Hull2 and the Nativity (now called the Adoration of Christ) in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.3 The current whereabouts of the Saint Sebastian panel remain unknown. 


By 1860, the seven panels from the predella found themselves in the collection of Samuel Woodburn, who then sold the series through Christie's in the aforementioned year. Saints Stephen and Augustine were sold as separate lots as Lorenzo di Credi. Upon seeing the paintings in person at Warwick Castle, Berenson re-attributed the pair in 1909 to the "Alunno di Domenico", whom future art historians would associate with Bartolommeo di Giovanni. Van Marle published the pair as Bartolommeo di Giovanni in his 1931 book on Italian painting and they were then sold at Christie's under that name in 1968.


Professor Ellis Waterhouse connected all seven panels to the same predella based on the descriptions in the Woodburn sale catalogue, which Everett Fahy duly recorded in his 1976 dissertation.4 Before considering the stylistic similarities, the size of each roundel matched. In the painted area outside each roundel, distinct decorative gold painted thread exists visually tying the saints together. Upon closer comparison, the connection between all panels became clear and widely accepted as being from a single series and artist. The missing piece of the puzzle remains from which altarpiece this predella was meant. As noted in her book on the artist, Nicoletta Pons shares the hypothesis of Lisa Venturini that connects the predella to a lost altarpiece by Domenico e David Ghirlandaio, Pala del Palco.5 As the final two panels from this predella in private hands, Saints Stephen and Augustine offer both a provenance of historically well-known collections and showcase an interesting evolution of art historical thought and discovery.


1. Tempera on panel. 22 cm (diameter). Inv. no. Gal.-No. 18th. https://skd-online-collection.skd.museum/Details/Index/185478; Tempera on panel. 22 cm (diameter). Inv. no. Gal.-No. 17th. https://skd-online-collection.skd.museum/Details/Index/185471

2. Tempera on panel. Inv. no. KINCM:2005.4728. http://museumcollections.hullcc.gov.uk/collections/search-results/image.php?. 

3. Oil on panel. 19.2 by 48.3 cm. Inv. 1943-40-53. https://www.philamuseum.org/collection/object/48408

4. E. Fahy, Some Followers of Domenico Ghirlandajo, 1976, 35-6.

5. N. Pons, Bartolomeo di Giovanni, 2004, 60.