Thursday, 29 June 2017

Trecento "Noli me tangere" is close follower of Duccio

Hampel, Germany, sells on 5 July 2017 a "14th century Italian painter, possibly Francesco di Antonio da Ancona, active 1383-1393" Noli me tangere, estimated at 15,000 to 30,000 Euro.

The interesting work shows a subject which is not uncommon in Italian art of the period, but the specific composition here seems to borrow heavily from Duccio. His work dates to 1308-1311 and is now conserved in the Museo del Duomo in Siena.

While many depictions show Christ rejecting Magdalen with a somewhat outstretched hand, here his hand rests on his leg. The plants and background are also clearly inspired by the Duccio. The comparison also shows though what a brilliant painter Duccio was (who had to invent much of the "language" of modern painting together with his contemporary Giotto), and how his style was reduced to a caricature some 80 years later.

Courtauld Gallery, Italian School (Vitale da Bologna?)
Barnaba da Modena, mid 14th century

These aspects of the composition (especially the position of Christ, carrying the flag, Magdalen with outstretched arms, a background with rocks and a few sparse trees) ha sbeen reused with more variations by a few other artists in the 14th century, but overall remains a rather rare version of the image. The work for sale here seems to me to be the most faithful to Ducci, with even the position of the hands of Mary Magdalen being very similar; the stiff posture of Christ is also closer in the work for sale than in the two other pictures. These two more closely follow the position of the left hand of Christ though.

Very few works by Francesco d'Antonio daAncona can be found online, the Fondazione Zeri ony lists a magnificent polyptych in the Pushkin Museum. The quality of that work is way above the one for sale, but perhaps it is a bit dangerous to reject the attribution based on only one comparison.

Despite the awkwardness of the work for sale, it still is an interesting and well-preserved example of 14th century Italian painting, and shows the long-lasting influence of Duccio (and let's face it, buying an original Duccio is impossible); so I guess the estimate is justified, even without any attribution.

No comments:

Post a Comment