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Lot No. 46


Giovanni Lanfranco


(Parma 1582 – 1647 Rome)
Mary Magdalene in glory with angels,
indistinctly signed or inscribed on the reverse,
oil on original canvas, 149 x 119.5 cm, framed

Provenance:
Private European collection;
art market, Italy;
where acquired by the present owner

We are grateful to Erich Schleier for confirming the attribution on the basis of a photograph and for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.

The present painting represents Mary Magdalene in glory, supported by three putti, with a fourth bearing her attribute, the jar of ointment. The compact figural structure takes up the entire pictorial space, creating dynamic tension through the different compositional lines.

According to Schleier, the present painting can be dated to the early 1620s or slightly later, when Giovanni Lanfranco was experimenting with a style described as ‘proto-Baroque’, the main characteristics of which are the hard and highly polished modelling of forms and highlights, with dark, earthy colouring, particularly of the flesh tones. The figures’ drapery is skillfully enlivened by quick and open brushstrokes and this powerful and energetic, less delicate approach distinguishes the present painting from the earlier versions of the same subject.

The Mary Magdalene is known in two other earlier autograph versions, one conserved in the Galleria Colonna, Rome and another one in the collection of the Credito Reggiano, Reggio Emilia which both date to circa 1616–1617. According to Schleier, the prototype of the composition can be identified as the Saint Agnes in Glory, also dated to circa 1616-1617 (Larchmont, New York). Lanfranco modified the figure of Saint Agnes into Mary Magdalene changing her hair and partially revealing her breasts. According to Schleier the other two known autograph versions of Mary Magdalene are characterised by important pentimenti, visible through X-ray analysis. Such pentimenti are not found in the present painting reconfirming that it is a later version. Nevertheless, other pentimenti can be found in the face, hand and hair of the present Mary Magdalene.

It has been suggested that there are traces of the painter’s signature on the back of the original canvas. The fact that the possible signature appears not to include the title ‘Eques’ (referring to the title of Knight of the Order of Christ that Lanfranco received only in 1628), reinforces the proposed dating of the early 1620s for this painting.

Giovanni Lanfranco was apprenticed to Agostino Carracci in Parma until the latter’s death in 1602. According to Bellori, he then went to Rome and entered the workshop of Annibale Carracci, which was a training ground for the most talented artists of the period who were to dominate the production of the Roman Baroque over the subsequent decades. After his master’s death in 1609, Lanfranco worked under Domenichino, Francesco Albani and Guido Reni, assisting on the important fresco schemes of the time, such as those at Palazzo Farnese, San Gregorio Magno and San Sebastiano fuori le Mura. Subsequently, the young artist returned to Emilia, where he received numerous independent commissions in and around Piacenza. In 1612, he returned to Rome, where he began to truly develop his own style, exploring with contre-jour effects, monumental figures and iridescent colours. Lanfranco’s modernism gained great popularity in Rome and elsewhere, he became the preferred artist of Pope Paul V, winning a commission ahead of Orazio Gentileschi for the proposed (though never realised) decoration of the Benediction Loggia of Saint Peter’s. He remained in Rome until 1634, when he moved to Naples, receiving commissions from significant patrons such as the Viceroy of Naples and the Count of Monterrey at the end of his career.

Specialist: Mark MacDonnell Mark MacDonnell
+43 1 515 60 403

mark.macdonnell@dorotheum.at

10.11.2021 - 16:00

Realized price: **
EUR 46,080.-
Estimate:
EUR 40,000.- to EUR 60,000.-

Giovanni Lanfranco


(Parma 1582 – 1647 Rome)
Mary Magdalene in glory with angels,
indistinctly signed or inscribed on the reverse,
oil on original canvas, 149 x 119.5 cm, framed

Provenance:
Private European collection;
art market, Italy;
where acquired by the present owner

We are grateful to Erich Schleier for confirming the attribution on the basis of a photograph and for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.

The present painting represents Mary Magdalene in glory, supported by three putti, with a fourth bearing her attribute, the jar of ointment. The compact figural structure takes up the entire pictorial space, creating dynamic tension through the different compositional lines.

According to Schleier, the present painting can be dated to the early 1620s or slightly later, when Giovanni Lanfranco was experimenting with a style described as ‘proto-Baroque’, the main characteristics of which are the hard and highly polished modelling of forms and highlights, with dark, earthy colouring, particularly of the flesh tones. The figures’ drapery is skillfully enlivened by quick and open brushstrokes and this powerful and energetic, less delicate approach distinguishes the present painting from the earlier versions of the same subject.

The Mary Magdalene is known in two other earlier autograph versions, one conserved in the Galleria Colonna, Rome and another one in the collection of the Credito Reggiano, Reggio Emilia which both date to circa 1616–1617. According to Schleier, the prototype of the composition can be identified as the Saint Agnes in Glory, also dated to circa 1616-1617 (Larchmont, New York). Lanfranco modified the figure of Saint Agnes into Mary Magdalene changing her hair and partially revealing her breasts. According to Schleier the other two known autograph versions of Mary Magdalene are characterised by important pentimenti, visible through X-ray analysis. Such pentimenti are not found in the present painting reconfirming that it is a later version. Nevertheless, other pentimenti can be found in the face, hand and hair of the present Mary Magdalene.

It has been suggested that there are traces of the painter’s signature on the back of the original canvas. The fact that the possible signature appears not to include the title ‘Eques’ (referring to the title of Knight of the Order of Christ that Lanfranco received only in 1628), reinforces the proposed dating of the early 1620s for this painting.

Giovanni Lanfranco was apprenticed to Agostino Carracci in Parma until the latter’s death in 1602. According to Bellori, he then went to Rome and entered the workshop of Annibale Carracci, which was a training ground for the most talented artists of the period who were to dominate the production of the Roman Baroque over the subsequent decades. After his master’s death in 1609, Lanfranco worked under Domenichino, Francesco Albani and Guido Reni, assisting on the important fresco schemes of the time, such as those at Palazzo Farnese, San Gregorio Magno and San Sebastiano fuori le Mura. Subsequently, the young artist returned to Emilia, where he received numerous independent commissions in and around Piacenza. In 1612, he returned to Rome, where he began to truly develop his own style, exploring with contre-jour effects, monumental figures and iridescent colours. Lanfranco’s modernism gained great popularity in Rome and elsewhere, he became the preferred artist of Pope Paul V, winning a commission ahead of Orazio Gentileschi for the proposed (though never realised) decoration of the Benediction Loggia of Saint Peter’s. He remained in Rome until 1634, when he moved to Naples, receiving commissions from significant patrons such as the Viceroy of Naples and the Count of Monterrey at the end of his career.

Specialist: Mark MacDonnell Mark MacDonnell
+43 1 515 60 403

mark.macdonnell@dorotheum.at


Buyers hotline Mon.-Fri.: 9.00am - 6.00pm
old.masters@dorotheum.at

+43 1 515 60 403
Auction: Old Master Paintings
Date: 10.11.2021 - 16:00
Location: Vienna | Palais Dorotheum
Exhibition: 29.10. - 10.11.2021


** Purchase price incl. charges and taxes

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