Niccolo di Pietro Gerini, Virgin and Child with saints

Niccolo di Pietro GERINI

(Active in Florence, Pisa and Prato between 1366 – circa 1414/1415)

Virgin and Child with saints

Tempera on panel, gold ground, shaped top, 81.3 x 49.5 cm

Dated by experts between 1370-1380

Presentation

Niccolò di Pietro Gerini was born in about 1340, into the family of an artist. Niccolo carried out commissions in Florence, though they also came from Piza, Prato and Rome. His original style followed the main lines of the development of Florentine art as laid down by Giotto, Andrea di Orcagana and Taddeo Gaddi. Niccolò created devotional compositions. His works are distinguished by a magnificent monumentality, an austere linearity in the forms and resonance in the coloring.

This delightful panel “Virgin and Child with saints John the Baptist, Dominic, Peter, and Paul” is entirely characteristic of the small-scale devotional panels that enjoyed huge popularity in Florence in the wake of the Black Death that paralyzed Europe in 1348. Niccolò di Pietro Gerini was one of the best-known exponents of such panels, probably as much to do with the extraordinary length of his career, which spanned several generations of Florentine painting (circa 1360–1415), as anything else. Gerini probably received his initial training in the workshop of Taddeo Gaddi (c. 1320–1366) and his style seems to be a fusion of those of Gaddi and his great rival in mid-14th century Florence, Orcagna (active 1343–1368). While the overall design of the present work has much in keeping with other devotional panels of this type, the decorative patterning of the background seems to be unique in Gerini’s oeuvre and was probably included at the particular request of the patron. Stylistically the present work may be closely compared with Gerini’s Coronation of the Virgin in Montreal.

Condition report:

In overall very good condition.

Provenance:

Private Collection, Rome, before 1920, and in Italy until at least 1925; Private collection, France;

Alexander M. Bing, New York; Gift of Alexander M. and Mrs. Florence Bing to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1948 (acc. no. 48.1), USA;

Important private collection, Zürich, Switzerland

Bibliography:

R. van Marle, The Italian School of Paintings, vol. IX, The Hague 1927, pp. 244 and 246, reproduced, fig. 158 (as Andrea di Giusto Manzini);

Los Angeles County Museum Bulletin of the Art Division, Summer 1950, vol. III, no. 2, p. 18 (as Andrea di Giusto); Great masters of the Italian Renaissance, 1400-1600, exhibition catalogue, Vancouver 1953, p. 15; Chinese Gold & Silver in the Carl Kempe Collection, exhibition catalogue, Stockholm 1954, p. 15, cat. no. 9; P. Wescher and E. Feinblatt, Los Angeles County Museum, Catalogue of Paintings I: Catalogue of Italian French and Spanish Paintings, XV- XVIII Century, Los Angeles 1954, p. 15, cat. no. 9, reproduced (as Andrea di Giusto Manzini);

R. Longhi, “Review of Los Angeles County Museum, Catalogue of Paintings I: Catalogue of Italian French and Spanish Paintings, XV-XVIII Century”, in Paragone-Arte, vol. I, November 1954, p. 64 (where he states that the attribution to Andrea di Giusto is untenable);

B. Fredericksen and F. Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections, Cambridge, Massachusetts 1972, p. 591 (as Florence, 14th century);

S. Schaefer, et al., European Painting and Sculpture in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles 1987, p. 104, reproduced (as Florentine);

S. Caroselli, Italian Panel Painting of the Early Renaissance, Los Angeles 1994, pp. 16, 94-5, reproduced;

Kunstberatung Zurich. Old masters and Modern art catalogue: private treasures, Zurich, 2019

Exhibitions:

Vancouver, Vancouver Art Gallery and Winnepeg, Winnepeg Art Gallery, Great masters of the Italian Renaissance, 1400-1600, October 4- December 15, 1953

Masterpiece London – 2017

BRAFA – the Brussels Art Fair – 2017

Unknown masterpieces: Italian paintings from the 14th to the 17th century from private collections, Artcentre.Moscow, 2020

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