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

Crucifixion with the Mourning Virgin and Saint John the Baptist

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Niccolò di Pietro Gerini

Niccolò di Pietro Gerini

Crucifixion with the Mourning Virgin and Saint John the Baptist

Crucifixion with the Mourning Virgin and Saint John the Baptist

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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.

The following condition report has been provided by Karen Thomas of Thomas Art Conservation, 119 West 23rd Street, Suite 400, New York, NY 10011, 212-564-4024, karen@thomasartconservation.com , an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.


This painting presents well and is in sound condition. The paint layer appears to be fairly well preserved. A network of widely spaced age cracks, primarily in the horizontal direction, crosses the surface.


Slight cupping follows the cracks. Retouching knits together wear the faces, while the shadows in the modeling in Christs body and in St. John's purple garment appear to be strengthened. Age-related alteration has developed in some passages, including darkening of the blue paint in Mary's mantle and fading in the red lake used on St. John the Baptist's yellow garment. The vertically grained wood panel support has been cut down and thinned, revealing old insect tunnels, and displays a mild convex lateral curvature. The panel appears to be structurally sound but has been coated with an opaque, modern grey paint on the back and sides. The upper corners of the face of the panel, long ago revealed by the removal of the original moldings, have been filled with gesso and toned to an off-white color. Toning back these area with a darker hue might help the fills to be less visually distracting. The varnish has even low gloss and slightly waxy surface. This painting may be displayed in its current state.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

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.