Offered by Ars Antiqua
Old Master Painting
Master of Lonigo (first half of the 15th century)
Madonna of Humility
Tempera on wood, 78 x 45 cm
The corpus of works now attributed to the Master of Lonigo, unanimously accepted by scholars, was essentially established in the second half of the 20th century. The constant reproposition of the iconographic motif, that of a Madonna of Humility turned above all towards the left of the spectator, encouraged Federico Zeri himself to conclude, within an exchange of letters that took place in 1950 with the management of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, that all those Madonnas of Humility that then appeared on the antiques market, one almost identical to the other, should have been juxtaposed with a similar panel kept in the Cathedral of Lonigo in Veneto, having as its subject
a Madonna with three angels and two small figures of S. Antonio Abate and S. Jerome. At the time Zeri was convinced of the entirely Venetian nature of the artist, presumably a lover of Gentile da Fabriano's painting, even if before him Luigi Coletti had considered the Lonigo piece, unfortunately lost today, an authentic work by Antonio Orsini (Venetian Art, 1951). The Madonnas of Humility then cited by Zeri as an example, one destined for the future Visconti Venosta collection in Rome and the other for the aforementioned museum in Boston, included “no less than fifteen specimens of the same painting; and I say the same in the full meaning of the adjective, since we are dealing with tablets (…) often the same as two drops of water or two héliogravure stamps: same dusting, same colours, even the same hallmarks. The variations consist solely in the presence or absence of a hedge of roses behind the group of the Madonna, in the arrangement of the hands of the Child, crossed or not, and in the greater or lesser abundance of the folds of the latter's garment". The critic also insisted on the name, which initially should have been provisional, of the artist: "(...) I decided to baptize him "Maestro di Lonigo", because the painting found in this city, in addition to being the richest in compositional elements, is also the only one that, as far as I know, has not changed location".
If even in the present the reference to Gentile da Fabriano, Giambono, Pisanello, Antonio Alberti, Giovanni di Paolo, and Stefano da Verona appears immediate for the choice of the two little angels who circle in a crown around Mary's head, it is necessary to remember the extra-Vicenza training by the Master of Lonigo (suggested once again by Zeri), in turn indebted to a primitive model by Gentile da Fabriano mediated by the experience of Jacobello del Fiore. Gentile's panels now housed in the Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the National Museum in Pisa are hypothetically similar in compositional affinities; however, the prototype itself must have been so exceptional that even carvers and sculptors such as Michele da Firenze had something to inspire. The fragment with the Virgin and Child (Villa I Tatti, Settignano, Florence) by Gentile is decisive in this respect. Also similar in stylistic evidence to the late production of Zanino di Pietro's workshop, it has recently been assumed that the Master of Lonigo is to be identified with Giorgio da Treviso, documented between 1428 and 1460 in Vicenza.
It is possible to forge a solid relationship of interdependence between this work and some plates by the Master of Lonigo in custody in museum institutions. If the specimen from the Musée Bonnat depicts a Child this time blessing, while relating to two panels from a private collection, one more faithful to the French model, the other with angels playing musicians, the examples from the Castello del Buonconsiglio in Trento , with the Child in slight movement, and the J.L. Smith, Boston (MA), Samuel W. Hale, Dublin and the Museo d'arte della Svizzera italiana in Lugano, resemble the present starting from the golden embroideries on the maphorion of the Virgin up to the full and lanceolate emerald-like leaves, adding small figures of offering and adoring saints. The Saibene collection in Milan also houses a Madonna of humility very similar to a second example in a private collection, highlighting the common use of the same cartoon by the Master, even if, compared to the present, the Milanese panel depicts the Madonna more coldly and the liveliest child.
Delevery information :
All the works proposed by Ars Antiqua are sold accompanied by a certificate of authenticity in accordance with the law and an accurate detailed information sheet.
It is possible to see the works directly at the gallery showroom in Milan, in via Pisacane 55 and 57.
We personally organize transport and deliveries of the works, both for Italy and abroad.