Porro & C. /Nov 23, 2006
€25,000.00 - €30,000.00
Artworks in Arcadja25
Some works of Marco D' OggionoExtracted between 25 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Auction: Christie's -Apr 14, 2016 - New-yorkLot number: 141
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Marco d'Oggiono (?Milan c. 1467-1524) The Madonna of the Violets oil on panel, transferred to canvas 22½ x 16¾ in. (57.1 x 42.5 cm.) Provenance Joseph, Cardinal Fesch (1763-1839), Palazzo Falconieri, Rome, as Bernardino Luini. Rev. Walter Davenport Bromley, Wootton Hall, Staffordshire; (†), Christie's, London, 12 June 1863, lot 81, as Leonardo da Vinci (490 gns. to Goldsmith). Stanley Mortimer, New York, 1944; Parke-Bernet Galleries, 2 December 1944, lot 74, as Milanese Master of the Circle of Leonardo da Vinci. with Jacob Heimann, Los Angeles. (Probably) with French and Co., New York, from whom acquired by The Countess Nadia de Navarro in 1960. Pre-Lot Text PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF THE COUNTESS NADIA DE NAVARRO Lot Notes Tenderness tinged with melancholy characterizes this moving depiction of the Madonna and Child seated before a marble parapet. Mary gazes lovingly at her son, her delicate features highlighted by the dark cloth that serves as a backdrop for the pair. Christ returns his mother’’’’s stare, but while his twisting body speaks of a child’’’’s restless energy, his eyes convey seriousness mingled with grief, thus revealing his awareness of his fate. Clutched in his right hand are a few violets, a symbol of humility associated with his Incarnation as well as the Crucifixion. Their purplish hue echoes the blue tonalities of the landscape visible beyond the gathered curtain, where a placid lake gives way to mountains steep enough to graze the clouds. Marco d’’’’Oggiono’’’’s composition is deeply indebted to Leonardo da Vinci’’’’s pen-and-ink drawing of the The Virgin and Child with a cat of about 1480 (fig. 1; Uffizi, Florence). Here, the unconventional feline attribute is replaced by more traditional violets, but the positional and psychological relationship of mother and child clearly owes much to the master’’’’s haunting figures. The smoky modeling, known as sfumato, as well the skillful rendering of the feather-light, transparent veils reveal an intimate knowledge of Leonardo’’’’s style. Gustav Waagen even went so far as to describe the present painting as a “very beautiful picture” from the “early part of Leonardo’’’’s residence in Milan” (loc. cit., 1865). The 19th-century scholar later linked our Madonna of the Violets to The Madonna Litta (fig. 2; The State Hermitage, St. Petersburg), which he also considered an autograph work by the Florentine master. The latter painting is now usually given to one of Leonardo’’’’s pupils— with Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio as a favored candidate—and shares much in common with the present work, such as the heightened plasticity of the Christ Child and the mountainous landscape enveloped in a bluish haze. In fact, David Alan Brown has proposed that the most plausible author of The Madonna Litta was not Boltraffio but rather Marco d’’’’Oggiono himself, who appears to have already been working in Milan as a master with his own shop by 1487, when he is documented as having taken on an apprentice (see D.A. Brown, op. cit., pp. 25-34). Marco was living with Leonardo by September 1490 – on the 7th of that month, according to Leonardo’’’’s memoranda, he fell victim to another member of the master’’’’s workshop, the notorious Salaì, who stole Marco’’’’s silverpoint stylus. In developing his theory about The Madonna Litta, Brown followed Wilhelm Suida, who also singled out Marco d’’’’Oggiono as the author of The Madonna of the Violets in 1949, adding however that “the soft shadow and utmost refinement in the modeling of the Virgin’’’’s head indicate Leonardo’’’’s participation in this exquisite work” (loc. cit.). Suida’’’’s suggestion of Leonardo’’’’s involvement in the execution of this painting, while no longer supported, points to the high quality of the picture both in terms of its formal arrangement and mysterious mood. Comparison of the Madonna of the Violets with Marco’’’’s sole documented painting of the 1490s, The Grifi Altarpiece (a joint 1491 commission with Boltraffio by the brothers of the late Archbishop Leonardo Grifi for the chapel of San Leonardo in San Giovanni sul Muro, Milan) reveals strong affinities between the infant and adult Christ’’’’s facial types (see Syson et al., op. cit., no. 65). Similarly full, pouting mouths and intensely modeled eyes that possess a slightly sunken quality occur in Marco’’’’s Portrait of a Man aged 20 (the so-called “Archinto Portrait”, National Gallery, London; fig. 3) of 1494 as well as in his Saint John the Baptist of c. 1498-1500 (National Trust, Knightshayes Court, Devon). The latter’’’’s contemplative mood and rich palette, dominated by ruby red and coppery browns, also share much in common with the present painting. Another parallel between The Madonna of the Violets and the Portrait of a Man aged 20 is the marble parapet with mottled earth tones that appears in both works. As for the landscape framing the Virgin and Child, its vast lake and verdant shores at the foot of a mountain range call to mind Marco’’’’s hometown of Oggiono on lake Annone, as Antonio Mazzotta has observed (loc. cit.). The treasured cornerstone of the De Navarro collection, The Madonna of the Violets had been kept out of the public eye since it was exhibited in Milan in 1964 until its inclusion in the seminal Leonardo retrospective held at the National Gallery, London, in 2011-2012. The painting was already much admired in the 19th century, when it was part of the collection of Napoleon’’’’s uncle, Cardinal Joseph Fesch in Rome, where it was attributed to Bernardino Luini. It was later acquired by the Rev. Walter Davenport Bromley (1787-1863), whose collection at Wootton Hall was, in the words of Francis Haskell “one of the most distinguished collections in England of early Italian painting” (Rediscoveries in Art, 1980, p. 203, n. 64).
Auction: Sotheby's -Jan 28, 2016 - New-yorkLot number: 20
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Marco d' Oggiono OGGIONO 1470/75-MILAN 1524 MADONNA AND CHILD BEFORE A LANDSCAPE oil on a single walnut panel 30 1/2 by 23 1/2 in.; 77.5 by 59.7 cm. Read Condition Report Read Condition Report Register or Log-in to view condition report Saleroom Notice Provenance With Altomani & Sons, Milan and Pesaro; From whom acquired by the present collector in 2007. Catalogue Note This unpublished and remarkably well-conserved Madonna nursing the Christ Child before a landscape was painted in circa 1515 by Marco d’’’’Oggiono, one of Leonardo da Vinci’’’’s most accomplished followers. Marco is recorded as an apprentice to Leonardo in 1490 but soon became an independent master, and the following year was awarded jointly with Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio the commission for the altarpiece in the Griffi Chapel in the church of San Giovanni sul Muro in Milan. Only the centerpiece of the work survives, a Resurrection with Saints Leonard and Lucy, today in the Staatliche Museen, Berlin. Marco’’’’s work was highly regarded during his lifetime and he was active throughout Lombardy: in 1501 he was hired by Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, later Pope Julius II, to execute the lost frescoes in Savona Cathedral. Leonardo’’’’s influence is inescapable in the meticulously observed and carefully executed drapery, with its gentle gradations of color and light. With great sensitivity Marco creates form and volume through the use of shadows, particularly in the body of the Child. The use of highlights in the Madonna’’’’s blue mantle, as well as those in Her headscarf, may be closely compared to the drapery of the Archangel Michael in the altarpiece from circa 1516 depicting the Three Archangels in the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan. In both the present work and the Brera altarpiece, the layering of the clouds is remarkably consistent, as is the blue tonality of the furthest background. The use of blue to create depth and recession in the landscape was championed by Leonardo and soon spread throughout Europe, in a technique called aerial perspective. The physiognomies, the overall design, and the sfumato effect, are also all echoes of Leonardo’’’’s work and recall the painting of the same subject by Boltraffio, but at times given to Leonardo, in the Hermitage, Saint Petersburg. 4 Professor Andrea De Marchi associates the present panel with an Allegory of the Passion of very similar dimensions (75 by 57 cm.) which is listed in a private collection in Como. 5 De Marchi proposes the two works may have been conceived as a diptych, though their designs work independently of each other. The present work would have hung to the left, with the Madonna’’’’s body facing Christ in the right panel. The attribution has been endorsed by Dr Everett Fahy and Professor Andrea De Marchi, on whose report this entry is based. 1. See D. Sedini, Marco d'Oggiono, tradizione e rinnovamento in Lombardia tra Quattrocento e Cinquecento, Milan 1989, pp. 26-28, cat. no. 1, reproduced. 2. Ibid., p. 51, cat. no. 17. 3. Ibid., pp. 102-08, cat. no. 40, reproduced in color. 4. See M.T. Fiorio, Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, un pittore milanese nel lume di Leonardo, Milan 2000, pp. 81-83, cat. no. A3, reproduced in color and also L. Syson et al., Leonardo Da Vinci, Painter at the Court of Milan, exhibition catalogue, London 2011, 222-25, cat. no. 57, reproduced in color. 5. Sedini, op. cit., pp. 122-24, cat. no. 46, reproduced in color.