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Lot 24 - *Jacopo del Arcangelo del SELLAIO (Florence 1422-1493) Vierge à l'enfant et saint [...]

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*Jacopo del Arcangelo del SELLAIO (Florence 1422-1493)
Vierge à l'enfant et saint Jean-Baptiste
57 x 49,8 cm
Restaurations anciennes
Exceptionnel cadre en bois naturel sculpté partiellement doré, travail Italien de la 2è moitié du 16è siècle.
Panneau recouvert au revers de gesso peint dont le pourtour a été gratté sur une largeur de 5 à 7cm laissant voir quelques galeries d'insectes xylophages.

Jacopo del Arcangelo del Sellaio (Florence 1422-1493)
Virgin and Child with St John the Baptist
57 x 49.8 cm
Ancient restorations
Exceptional frame in natural, sculpted wood, partially gilded. Italian work of the late XVI century.
On the reverse, the panel is coated with painted gesso, with the outer 5-7 cm of the rim scratched off, revealing tunnels bored by xylophagous insects.
Pictorial surface: lifting, ancient restorations

The Virgin, depicted in two-thirds view, tenderly holds the Child in her arms, and is observed admiringly by a young John the Baptist. The characters are on the foreground, with a faraway city landscape on the left, a pastoral landscape with small hills on the right, and a deep blue sky all around. The deep intimacy that binds mother and child, creates the appropriate mood for intense devotion that worshippers are expected to feel during prayer facing this image, either at home or in the privacy of the friary oratory. Starting in 1466 and for over 20 years, Jacopo del Sellaio was himself a member of a number of friaries in Florence, including that of Saint Agnes, in the vicinity of Carmine or San Frediano, and he became, among other things, a specialist in devotional paintings dedicated to the Virgin, St John the Baptist (patron saint of Florence), and St Jerome (see N. Pons “Jacopo del Sellaio e le Confraternite” in La Toscana al Tempo di Lorenzo il Magnifico, Politica, Economia, Cultura, Arte, Atti del Convegno di Studi, Firenze, Pisa, Siena, 5-8 November 1992, pp. 287-295).

According to Vasari, Jacopo trained as an apprentice in the workshop of Filippo Lippi and probably met Sandro Botticelli there; in 1460 he became a member of the Saint Luke painter’s corporation, and ses up his own workshop, which bloomed rapidly and was then passed on to his son Arcangelo di Jacopo. Starting in 1473, Botticelli’s influence on the artist is ever more present. It is known that he worked with the master in 1483 during the execution of the scenes illustrating Boccaccio’s short story from The Decameron: “Nastagio degli Onesti"; in later years, his work would be heavily influenced by Domenico Ghirlandaio, after having worked beside him at the Palazzo Vecchio.

Even though most of his paintings dedicated to the Virgin follow the models of Filippo Lippi and portray her kneeling in adoration of the Holy Child, with or without the presence of young St John the Baptist (New York, Metropolitan Museum n.41.100.10; Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery n.37.754 ; Florence, Pitti Palace n.364), in this case, we believe Sellaio modeled his characters after those in the “Madonna of the Rose Garden” by Boticcelli (Paris, Musée du Louvre – dated around 1468), a model that would be later be inspirational to the master’s workshop. Like his friend, Sellaio creates an intense intimacy between mother and child, but unlike Botticelli, who limits the composition to an enclosed garden, Sellaio provides more depth by animating the landscape with minuscule characters engaged in buffoonery, which contrast against the monumentality and length of the body of the protagonists. His composition is more linear but remains lively when depicting the features of the Virgin’s oblong face, the details of her auricle covered by strands of hair, her eyelids and lips, the bony fingers of her left hand, and the draping of the veil that covers her face and neck. We have not yet ruled out a collaboration in the execution of certain details, such as the right hand of the Virgin or that of the Child.

Concerning the date, we can undoubtedly identify it as close to the altarpiece dedicated to Saint Lawrence, preserved in the church of San Frediano in Cestello of Florence, depicting Christ on the cross surrounded by saints. The characters in the painting, especially the angel guiding Tobit, are similar in style to the Virgin of this panel, particularly in the weight of the bodies, the morphology of their faces, and the depiction of fabrics. Zeri dated the altarpiece 1486-1490 (Fototeca 17032), but N.Pons considers it to be a later work ca. 1493, making it one of Sellaio’s last, as he died later that same year (see N. Pons « Una predella e altre cose di Jacopo del Sellaio» Paragone, 1990, n°487, pp. 46-52).

Estimate: 30,000 / 50,000 €

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