Giovanni di Niccolò Mansueti (active Venice 1485-1526/7)
The Madonna and Child with Saints Jerome and Francis
oil on panel
2114 x 2638 in. (53.9 x 67.1 cm.)
Anonymous sale; Cenolini, Milan, 6 February 1905 (=1st day), lot 51.
Private collection, Verona.
(Possibly) Rota collection, Bergamo.
Art market, Milan, as 'Bartolomeo Montagna'.
Private collection, United Kingdom, where acquired by the present owner.
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Lot Essay

The present composition is almost identical to that formerly in the Böhler collection, published by Fritz Heinemann in his 1962 publication Giovanni Bellini e i Belliniani (Venice, 1962, I, p. 249, no. V.210.). Here, the ex-Böhler work was unillustrated, yet an image can be found in the catalogue of its 1930 sale (erroneously listed by Heinemann as dated 23 July, instead of August). The dimensions of the two versions are very similar, with the ex-Böhler panel listed as 21116 x 2634 in. (53.5 x 26.7 cm.), however Heinemann rejected that painting's attribution to Mansueti, suggesting instead that it was most likely by the same unidentified hand as the Madonna and Child with hand outstretched, a landscape beyond, formerly in the collection of Dr. Benedikt, Berlin (op. cit., no. V.209).
The present picture is of considerably finer quality, with its composition comparable to Mansueti’s Madonna and Child with Saints and Donors in the Galleria dell'Accademia, Venice. The figures, particularly that of the gesturing Saint Francis, are likewise reminiscent of those in his signed and dated Saint Sebastian with four Saints of 1500, formerly in the church of San Francesco, Treviso, and now also in the Accademia. In the face of the Madonna, pentimenti are visible in her nose and lips, evidence of the artist's amendments in the process of perfecting the figure's features.

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