Madonna and Child with Saint Anthony Abbot and Saint Sigismund

Neroccio di Bartolomeo de' Landic. 1490/1495

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Washington, DC, United States


  • Title: Madonna and Child with Saint Anthony Abbot and Saint Sigismund
  • Creator: Neroccio de' Landi
  • Date Created: c. 1490/1495
  • Physical Dimensions: overall: 158.5 × 142 cm (62 3/8 × 55 7/8 in.) framed: 193.99 × 178.44 × 12.7 cm (76 3/8 × 70 1/4 × 5 in.) panel weight: 59.875 kg (132 lb.) framed weight: 117.935 kg (260 lb.)
  • Provenance: Left altar of the church of the former Hospital of San Bartolommeo, Rapolano (Siena), by 1865;[1] Ireneo Magi, mayor of Rapolano, by 1910;[2] (Elia Volpi [1858-1938], Florence), by March 1925; (Robert Langton Douglas [1864-1951], London);[3] Arthur Sachs [1880-1975], New York, by February 1931;[4] sold March 1943 through (Jacques Seligmann & Co., New York) and (Moses & Singer) to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York;[5] gift 1952 to NGA. [1] The panel was described there by Francesco Brogi (_Inventario generale degli oggetti d'arte della Provincia di Siena_, 2nd ed., Siena, 1897 [originally 1865]); however, its size leads one to suspect that it was originally destined for the main altar of a church. The fact that it was cut and reframed strongly suggests it provenance from a different altar, and the absence of Saint Bartholomew among those depicted makes it likely that it was painted for a different church. The Ospedale dei Poveri di San Bartolomeo, already in existance in 1297, was suppressed around 1760; its possessions were put up for sale and the church given to the Ospedale della Scala in Siena (see Enzo Lecchini and Sandro Rossolini, _Un popolo, un castello. Storia delle Serre di Rapolano_, Siena, 1993: 479-483). It cannot be excluded that the painting came to Rapolano only after this date, through the Spedale della Scala. [2] There is some confusion concerning the exact whereabouts and ownership of NGA 1952.5.17 in the early years of the 20th century. There is no reason to doubt that Edward Hutton (_Sienna and Southern Tuscany_, London, 1910: 200) did in fact find it "after much search...in the Syndic's house." The syndic (or rather mayor) was at that time Ireneo Magi, and indeed both Pietro Rossi, "Neroccio di Bartolommeo Landi e la sua più grande tavola," _Rassegna d'Arte Senese_ 5 (1909): 23, and Luigi Dami, "Neroccio di Bartolomeo Landi," _Rassegna d'Arte Senese_ 13, no. 9 (September 1913): 161, name him as the owner. The latter also specifies that Joseph Breck, "Una pittura di Neroccio a Rapolano (Siena)," _L'Arte_15 (1912): 67, erroneously describes the panel at the Pievania delle Serre. Incorrectly, then, Robert Langton Douglas, _A History of Siena_, London, 1902: 385, no. 1, states that it was "in the possession of Sig. Mazzi," followed by Jules Destrée, _Notes sur les primitives italiens: Sur Quelques peintures de Sienne_, Brussels and Florence, 1903: 98, and incorrectly Bernard Berenson, _The Central Italian Painters of the Renaissance_, 2nd rev. ed., London and New York, 1909: 207, followed at first by Edward Hutton (in Joseph Archer Crowe and Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle, _A New History of Painting in Italy, from the II to the XVI Century_, 3rd ed., ed. Hutton, 3 vols., London and New York, 1908-1909: 3(1909):115 n. 6) and by Tancred Borenius (in Crowe and Cavalcaselle, _A New History of Painting in Italy ..._, 2nd ed., ed. Langton Douglas and Tancred Borenius, 6 vols., London, 1903-1914: 5(1914):159 n. 6), as well as by Lionello Venturi (_Pitture italiane in America_, Milan, 1931: pl. 236, note) and others, who claim that it is, or was, in the Pievania della Serre di Rapolano. It is also uncertain when the painting actually left the chapel of San Bartolomeo, where Magi apparently was patron of the left altar. Alfredo Liberti, "Rapolano," _Bullettino Senese di Storia Patria_, n.s. I (1930): 316, still believed it preserved in the chapel, and according to A. Rondini, _Siena e la sua provincial. Guida annuario_, Sancasciano, 1931: 702, it remained there "fino a poco tempo fa" ("until very recently"). Possibly it was removed in 1909; indeed Rossi 1909: 23, writes that the altarpiece "trovasi nella cappella di S. Bartolomeo del Sr. I. Magi" ("is located in Mr. I. Magi's chapel of Saint Bartholomew"). [3] According to a handwritten note on a photograph of the painting in the Frick Art Reference Library in New York, the panel was privately owned in Rapolano when, in March 1925, it was purchased by Elia Volpi. It seems to have been sold through Robert Langton Douglas (see Denys Sutton, "Robert Langton Douglas. Part III," _Apollo_ CIX, no. 208 [June 1979]: 463, 465). [4] See _Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art_ 26 (April 1931): 105: "List of accessions and loans, February 6 to March 5...Lent by Arthur Sachs." Later ("Francesco dio Giorgio, Neroccio: Two Madonnas and an Altarpiece," _The Burlington Magazine_ 75 [December 1939]: 235) John Pope-Hennessy mentions the painting as being in the Sachs collection. [5] The painting is recorded as being with the dealer Jacques Seligman in New York by Shapley 1966, 155, and in Germain Seligman, _Merchants of Art: 1880-1960, Eighty Years of Professional Collecting_, New York, 1961: pl. 86. According to Seligmann files, the firm did not own the picture but acted for Sachs in its sale. (Seligmann Papers, Archives of American Art, Series 2.1, Collectors Files, Box 204, folder 1, copy in NGA curatorial files). The bill of sale to the Kress Foundation for two paintings, dated 25 March 1943 and including Neroccio's "The Rapolano Altarpiece: Madonna with Anthony Abbot and Hermengildus," is on Moses & Singer letterhead and indicates that the sale is from "Mr. Arthur Sachs c/o Moses & Singer" (copy in NGA curatorial files). See also The Kress Collection Digital Archive, https://kress.nga.gov/Detail/objects/1366.
  • Medium: tempera on panel

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