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Lot 1103: CRISTOFORO DI BENEDETTO, SAINT PETRONIUS AND THE APOSTLE JAKOBUS MAJOR, Tempera on wood, 90.5 x 61.7 cm
November 17, 2012
Cologne, GermanyLive Auction
Lot 1103 and lot 1104 will first be auctioned separately, then together as one lot.
This and the previous plate come from a South German private collection and were, up until now, two unknown works. Prof. Gaudenz Freuler has however, after an extensive study of the plates, attributed them to Cristoforo di Benedetto, an artist active in the 15th century in Bologna. The works provide an interesting alternative to what was previously understood about Bolognese painting. Each plate depicts two standing saints in a richly flowering, paradisial lawn: Petronius with a model of Bologna, the town he is protecting, and Jacobus Major to one, Jerome and St. Dominic to the other. Both plates were once part of a triptych, its central panel probably of a Madonna and Child.
Freuler recognises in the plates traits of the Adriatic art of Giovanni Francesco da Rimini, the Paduan artists of the early Renaissance, and somewhat awkward similarities to Marco Zoppo who trained in Ferrara. These characteristics enable the attribution of Cristoforo di Benedetto to be concluded. Stylistically, the plates are closely related to works by the artist in the church of San Prospero in Bologna (today Pinacoteca Nazionale), and to a signed painting of the Madonna in the de Clemente collection in Florence (now lost). Besides the stylistic elements there are also important technical aspects that prove telling. For example, the golden background is similar to Cristoforo di Benedetto's Saint in St. Prospero, decorated with rich gold leaf, the simple rosette ornaments of the aureoles are executed identically.
Iconographically, both scenes refer to Bologna: Domenicus is buried there, and Petronius is the city's patron. In our plate, he is holding a model of the city in his hands, clearly symbolising Bologna with the "Torre degli Asinelli" and the leaning tower of the Garisenda family. Freuler dates our Saints to circa 1460. They would have therefore been created prior to the paintings for San Prospero dated 1467. Based on the privileged position of Jacobus Major next to the possible former Madonna in the centre, the triptych may well have been an altarpiece for the Basilica San Giacomo Maggiore in Bologna.
We thank Prof. Gaudenz Freuler for his assistance and the attribution of these works.
Prof. Gaudenz Freuler, Zurich.
VAT: Margin Scheme
Provenance: Private collection, South Germany.
Dimensions: 90.5 x 61.7 cm
Artist or Maker: CRISTOFORO DI BENEDETTO
Exhibited: SAINT PETRONIUS AND THE APOSTLE JAKOBUS MAJOR
Medium: Tempera on wood