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Bernardino Luini (1480 - 1532)



July 7, 2004
London, United Kingdom

More About this Item


oil on panel


90 by 59.5 cm.; 35 1/2 by 23 1/2 in.


London, Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1902, no. 59 (lent by A.W. Leatham);
London, Royal Academy of Arts, Italian Art and Britain, Winter Exhibition 1960, no. 94.


H. Cook, "Three unpublished Italian Portraits", in The Burlington Magazine, vol. I, 1903, pp. 185-186, reproduced facing p. 186 (as Luini);
B. Berenson, "Scoperte e primizie artistiche", in Rassegna d'Arte, vol. IV, 1904, p. 158 (as Cavazzola, and connecting it to the Poldi Pezzoli painting);
G. Frizzoni, "A proposito del Cavazzola, Veronese", in Rassegna d'Arte, vol. V, 1905, p. 56;
B. Berenson, North Italian Painters of the Renaissance, New York & London 1907, p. 240 (as Girolamo dai Libri);
L. Beltrami, Luini 1512-1523. Materiale di studio, Milan 1911, p. 591;
G. Frizzoni, "Una nuova perla nel gabinetto dei Veneti del museo Poldi Pezzoli a Milano", in Rassegna d'Arte, vol. XII, 1912, p. 121 (as Cavazzola);
A. Graves, A Century of Loan Exhibitions 1813-1912, vol. II, London 1913, p. 722 (as Luini);
R. Wittkower, "Studien zur Geschichte der Malerei in Verona, III", in Jahrbuch für Kunstwissenschaft, 1927, p. 219, no. 31 (as School of Verona, circa 1520);
A. Venturi, Storia dell'arte italiana, vol. IX, parte III, Milan 1928, p. 907 (as Cavazzola);
W. Suida, La Pittura del Rinascimento nel Canton Ticino, 1932, p. 10, reproduced plate XII (as Luini, and publishing the two in the Chiesa di Magadino);
F. Russoli, La Pinacoteca Poldi Pezzoli, Milan 1955, pp. 172-3 (as Lombard School, beginning of the 16th Century);
A. Ottino della Chiesa, Bernadino Luini, Novara 1956, pp. 20-21, 90-91 (as Luini);
Italian art and Britain, exhibition catalogue, London, Royal Academy of Arts, 1960, pp. 47-48, cat. no. 94 (as Luini);
F. Russoli, in Il Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan 1972, p. 222 (as Luini);
C. Hornig, Cavazzola, 1976, pp. 127-8, 138 (as Luini);
M. Natale, "Dipinti" in Il Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Musei e Gallerie di Milano, Milan 1982, p. 92 (as Luini).



Charles Warner Lewis, Blackheath;
His deceased sale, London, Christie's, 3 June 1871, lot 5, bought by Rutley;
A.W. Leatham, Miserden Park, Cirencester, by 1913;
Thence by descent to M.W.T. Leatham, London, by 1960;
Thence by descent until sold London, Sotheby's, 8 July 1987, lot 31, for £160,000 to the present owner.


This panel, which has probably been reduced in height and would originally have shown a full-length figure, once formed part of a larger altarpiece from which three other fragments survive (see Ottino della Chiesa, under Literature, plates 23-5). The other three panels also show saints against a similar gold damask background and the orientation of the figure of this female martyr suggests that she once stood at the left of the composition. The three other panels represent St. Anthony of Padua (Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan), St. Bernardino of Siena and St. Catherine of Siena (both in the Chiesa di Magadino in Canton Ticino). This grouping of saints strongly suggests that the original altarpiece was commissioned for an Observant Franciscan house, possibly a nunnery.

The Female martyr was first published by Cook in 1903 as by Bernardino Luini, and it had been exhibited as such the year before. Subsequently Berenson and others (Venturi, Frizzoni) published this and the other related panels as by Cavazzola, but it was not until Ottino della Chiesa's monograph on Luini that they were all convincingly attributed to the artist. The paintings appear to be youthful works by Luini, probably executed around the time of his first known work, the altarpiece in the church of Maggianico in Como, painted shortly after 1510.

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Old Master Paintings, Part 1

July 7, 2004, 12:00 AM EST

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