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View full screen - View 1 of Lot 1. Crucifixion with the Mourning Virgin and Saint John the Baptist.

Niccolò di Pietro Gerini

Crucifixion with the Mourning Virgin and Saint John the Baptist

Auction Closed

May 25, 03:13 PM GMT


40,000 - 60,000 USD

Lot Details


Niccolò di Pietro Gerini

Florence, documented 1368 - 1415-1416

Crucifixion with the Mourning Virgin and Saint John the Baptist

tempera on panel, gold ground

panel: 9 by 7⅛ in.; 22.9 by 18.1 cm.

framed: 10¼ by 8⅜ in.; 26.0 by 21.3 cm.

Probably private collection, Rome;
From where exported, 8 August 1978 (per an export stamp on the panel’s verso);
Art market, London, 1978;
Private collection, Florence;
From whom acquired by the present owners.

The Florentine painter Niccolò di Pietro Gerini rendered this previously unpublished Crucifixion with the Mourning Virgin and Saint John the Baptist with striking pathos. The painting was first attributed to Gerini by Federico Zeri in January 1984.1 At that time the painting included several passages of overpainting, removed during a recent restoration campaign. Following the panel’s conservation (and its removal from a frame that obscured its polylobed arches), Angelo Tartuferi confirmed the attribution, citing similarities with Saints Benedict, Christopher, and Catherine of Alexandria in the Lindenau-Museum, Altenburg (inv. no. 64), and an Annunciation in the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven (inv. no. 1871.16). Tartuferi, who dated the Crucifixion with the Mourning Virgin and Saint John the Baptist to circa 1390, also noted that the same decorative border comprised of “x”s that defines the mantles worn by the Virgin and Saint John appears in Gerini’s Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saints John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene, formerly in the collection of Alfonso Tacoli Canacci (sold, London, Sotheby's, 5 July 2018, lot 103).

The composition centers on Christ nailed to the titulus-surmounted cross, situated on a rocky mound, before which lies Adam’s skull. The work’s emotive power, however, derives from the expressive reactions of the Virgin and Saint John. At left, Mary gestures toward her son, drawing attention to the wound caused by Longinus’s lance, from which blood streams. At right, in shimmering yellow and purple, Saint John the Baptist, his face contorted with anguish, turns away from Christ, as if the scene were too painful to behold. In a panel intended for private devotion, the dramatic responses of the Virgin and Saint John would have provided exemplary, perhaps even mimetic, outpourings of grief.

We are grateful to Angelo Tartuferi for his assistance cataloguing this work.

1. Fototeca Zeri, no. 2994.