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Bartolomeo Veneto (Italy active 1502‑1531)

The Madonna and Child

To be sold at Uppsala Auktionskammare’s Important Sale Week 13 – 16 June 2023

Lot 519 Bartolomeo Veneto (Italy active 1502‑1531). The Madonna and Child. Oil on panel, 45 x 32 cm.

The painting may be dated between 1515 and 1520.


200.000 – 300.000 SEK
€ 18.000 – 26.000


A southern French private collection.
Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1875‑1947), before 1930.
Thence by descent to his son Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1921‑2002).
His sale, Sotheby’s, London, 5 July 1984, lot 254.
An important Swedish private collection, acquired at the above sale.


Neue Pinakothek, Munich, ”Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz”, 1930, no. 17, pl. 92.
Villa Favorita, Lugano, ”Aus dem Besitz der Stiftung Schloss Rohoncz”, 1949, p. 13, no. 19.
Villa Favorita, Lugano, ”Essen:una mostra della Collezione Thyssen Bornemisza”, 1960, p. 74.


Wilhelm Suida, Die italienischen Bilder der Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz, in: Belvedere: Monatsschrift für Sammler und Kunstfreunde, IX, 1930, p. 177, illustrated pl. 113, as ca. 1515.
Andre de Hevesy, Um Bartolomeo Veneto, in: Pantheon, VII, 1931, p. 225.
Raimond van Marle, I quadri italiani della raccolta del Castello Rohoncz, in: Dedalo, XI, 1931, p. 1385.
Bernard Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance, 1932, p. 51.
Ernst Michalski, Zur Stilkritik des Bartolomeo Veneto, in: Zeitschrift für Bildende Kunst, LXV, 1931/2, p. 179, as ca. 1515.
Bernard Berenson, Pitture Italiane del Rinascimento, 1936, p. 44.
Rudolf J. Heinemann, Stiftung Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz, 1937, vol. 1, p. 8, no. 20.
Aus dem Besitz der Stiftung Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz, 1951, no. 19.
Catalogue Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz, 1958, no. 20.
Bernard Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School, 1957, vol. I, p. 12, illustrated fig. 546.
Philip Hendy, Some Italian Renaissance-Pictures in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, 1964, p. 159.
Rudolf J. Heinemann, The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, 1969, vol. I, pp. 24‑25, no. 18, illustrated vol. II, pl. 242.
Gertrude Borghero, Collezione Thyssen-Bornemisza. Catalogo ragionato delle opere esposte Castagnola, 1981, p. 25, no. 18.
Mia Cinotti (ed.), Maestri antichi. Catalogo della Pittura Italiana del ‘300 al ‘700, 1985, pp. 86/7.
Laura Pagnotta, Bartolomeo Veneto, in Saur. Allgemeines Künstler Lexikon aller Zeiten und Völker, vol. VII, 1993, p. 298.
Laura Pagnotta, Bartolomeo Veneto: l’Opera Completa, 1997, pp. 206/7, cat. no. 24, with ill. p. 250, under cat. no. 37.

In context

This intimate, touching devotional panel of the Madonna and Child made its first public appearance in 1930 as a work by Bartolomeo Veneto and has since never been contested as a fine example of Bartolomeo’s oeuvre, dating from his Lombardian years. Pagnotta too, even though she only knew the painting from a photograph, included it in her catalogue raisonné as an autograph work by the master, suggesting a date towards the end of the 1510, noting Bartolomeo’s ineptness to Giovanni Bellini in the composition based on the latter’s Madonna, now in the National Gallery in Washington, and noting the specific Lombardian Leonardesque naturalism of the period.

Executed on a small scale, the painting strikes by its warm palette as much as its mastery of light. Coming in from the left it falls on the face and body of the Madonna and on the Christ Child, highlighting in particular the Madonna’s curly hair falling on her shoulders and creating soft sfumato on the left of her face. Effective is the use of the red curtain which together with the green and blue cloak of the Madonna create a warm overall tonality. While the Christ Child holds a small cross as a token of his fate, the Madonna has no halo or any other sign of her role as mother of Christ. She gazes out of the window into a Giorgionesque landscape where a bagpiper plays his instrument to his flock.

Thus, as observed by all writers, the painting merges Venetian and Lombardian influences, such as also seen in other works from the 1510:s the Madonna and Child, formerly in the collection Vittorio Crespi in Milan (Pagnotta, cat. no. 37, fig. 83) and in the Madonna and Child in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin (Pagnotta, cat. no. 19). With the former the present Madonna shares the use of the red curtain, with the painting in Berlin the view on the landscape on the left. And whereas the Berlin and formerly Crespi painting in their figures of the Madonna and Child confirm Bartolomeo’s knowledge of Dürer’s print of 1513, the present painting has a definite Dürerian spirit too, most notably in the touching figure of the Madonna.

Little is known about Bartolomeo Veneto’s life, of whom the name confirms that he originated from Venice. Scarce sources confirm that he initially worked in Venice, where he was probably a pupil of Gentile Bellini, that he worked in Ferrara in 1505/7 and that he must have settled in Milan at the end of the first decade. His presence in Milan is confirmed in a document of May 1511. The reason for Bartolomeo to settle in Milan must have been the striving artistic scene resulting from the presence of Leonardo da Vinci. Here a school of painters had risen who all worked in a naturalist tradition, based on Leonardesque principles but also with affinity for the Flemish primitives and other Northern European painters. These latter masters had been avidly collected by the Sforza’s. Bartolomeo Veneto appears to have had a special interest in Dürer and Cranach, such as can be seen in the Lute Player (Brera, Milan; Pagnotta, cat. no. 29, fig. 69) and the iconic Flora (Städel Museum, Frankfurt). 

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