View full screen - View 1 of Lot 110. Nativity           .
110

Benvenuto Tisi, called Garofalo

Nativity

Estimate:

200,000

to
- 300,000 USD

Benvenuto Tisi, called Garofalo

Benvenuto Tisi, called Garofalo

Nativity

Nativity

Estimate:

200,000

to
- 300,000 USD

Lot sold:

214,200

USD

Benvenuto Tisi, called Garofalo

Ferrara 1481 - 1559

Nativity


oil on panel

17 ⅝ by 21 ½ in.; 44.7 by 54.6 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, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.


This work is generally in good condition. It is painted on a panel which is cradled on the reverse. The panel is flat, and the paint layer is stable. The varnish is very slightly uneven.


Restorations to a series of small losses running from the center of the composition through the center of the right side are clearly visible under ultraviolet light; these only very slightly interfere with the small group of figures in the center. In the Madonna, there are a few tiny spots in the shadowed side of her face and in her red gown. The sky shows a few small retouches in the yellow section. The figure on the left show only a few small retouches, and the landscape on the left is also very well preserved. There is a group of restorations in the upper right beneath the top and in the upper right of the archway.


If the varnish were adjusted, the work could be hung in its current state.


"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."

With Colnaghi, London, by 1976;
Private collection, Europe, by 1979;
With Matthiessen Fine Art Ltd, London;
From whom acquired, 1989.  
E. Sambo, "Sull'attività giovanile di Benvenuto Tisi da Garofalo," in Paragone, XXXIV, 395, 1983, pp. 26-27, reproduced plate 38 (as dated to the 1510s);
E. Mattalliano, in From Borso to Cesare d'Este: The School of Ferrara, exhibition catalogue, London 1984, p. 78, no. 24 (as dated circa 1510);
A. Pattanaro, Benvenuto Tisi detto "Il Garofalo," gli anni della formazione e della prima maturità, doctoral thesis, Padua 1985-1986, vol. II, no. 24 (as dated circa 1507);
A.M. Fioravanti Baraldi, Il Garofolo, Rimini 1993, pp. 96-97, cat. no. 20, reproduced (as dated circa 1510);
A. Ballarin, Dosso Dossi, Cittadella 1994-1995, vol. I, p. 281, cat. no. 266, reproduced in color fig. LXI, vol. II, reproduced in black and white plate 164c (as dated circa 1507-1508).
London, Matthiesen Fine Art Ltd, From Borso to Cesare d'Este: The School of Ferrara 1450-1628, 1984, no. 24 (lent by an anonymous European collection);
New York, Matthiesen and Newhouse Galleries, Paintings From Emilia, 1500-1700, 1987, no. 3;
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, September - December 2006, on loan.

This charming Nativity is an early work by Benvenuto Tisi, called Garofalo, one of the most outstanding painters of the Ferrarese High Renaissance. It is notable for its gentle tonality, its compositional balance, and its detailed setting—from the small group of colorful angels near Christ, to the verdant rolling hills of the landscape, and to two doves perched atop a stone ledge on the ruins. Datable to circa 1507-1510, it is illustrative of his youthful style, one defined by an enthusiastic admiration of Venetian artists, particularly Giorgione, whose works he certainly knew. Garofalo painted a number of similar depictions of Nativities and Adorations early in his career, probably in response to a strong demand for small and highly finished easel pictures. The present panel, for example, follows a small Nativity in the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Ferrara and it anticipates a panel of the same subject in the Musée des Beaux Arts in Strasbourg.


Garofalo worked in Ferrara during what Cecil Gould characterized as the city's Golden Age, spanning the second half of the fifteenth century and much of the sixteenth, when the Arts flourished under the patronage of the ruling Este family. He trained under the Cremonese painter Boccaccio Boccaccino in Ferrara from 1497, and he counted Ludovico Mazzolino and Ortolano among his contemporaries, as well as Dosso and Battista Dossi for much of his career. Following the examples of three great fifteenth-century Ferrarese painters—Cosme Tura, Francesco Cossa and Ercole de' Roberti—Garofalo grew up in an age that was more open to influences from other artistic centers, notably Bologna, Padua and Venice. A prolific painter due to his long career, Garofalo's style migrated from an early Venetian Giorgionesque flowering, as visible in the present example, to a long maturity of classicizing works, influenced by a Roman sojourn in Raphael's atelier. For all of his career however, Garofalo demonstrated a love of color which is one of the hallmarks of Ferrarese painting.