NEW YORK, NY.- Christies
Old Master Paintings sale on June 6 in New York was led by the magnificent picture of Christ Carrying the Cross by Girolamo Romanino (Brescia 1484/87-1560), which sold for $4,562,500/£2,965,625/3,650,000, and set a world auction record for the artist. A masterpiece of Romaninos fully mature style and among the most potent and moving depictions of the theme in 16th century Italian art, the new auction record soars above the previous record of $512,502/£309,500 for Christ and the woman taken into adultery, which sold at Christies London in 1996. Comprised of 98 lots, The Old Master Paintings sale realized a total of $12,574,125/£8,173,181/ 10,059,300.
A leading painter of the north Italian school, Girolamo di Romano, who during his lifetime came to be called Romanino, was born between 1484 and 1487 in Brescia, then under Venetian rule. Active as a painter of frescoes, altarpieces, portraits and private devotional pictures, Romanino worked in numerous cities across northern Italy, including Padua, Cremona, Trento and Brescia, which remained his chief residence over the course of his career.
Provenance and Restitution
A Christ Carrying the Cross by Romanino was documented in the Brognoli collection in Brescia in 1820, but cannot be identified with certainty as the present picture. The first secure record of its whereabouts dates from 1853, when it was seen by Odorici in the distinguished collection of Cesare and Antonio Averoldi in Brescia. This points to the possibility that the picture may have originally been painted for a member of the Averoldi family, who in the 16th century were among the most prominent art patrons in the city, having commissioned works from Titian, Savoldo, Moretto da Brescia as well as from Romanino. By 1900, the picture had passed into the Crespi collection, Milan, following the 1914 sale of which it was acquired in Paris by Federico Gentili di Giuseppe. After his death in 1940, the picture was sold in a forced sale of his estate in Paris in 1941. By 1996, it had entered the Polli collection, Milan, from which it was acquired, in 1998, by the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan. On 2 June 1999, the Court of Appeals of Paris nullified the 1941 sale, determining that Mr. Gentili di Giuseppe's family had been prevented from attending to the administration of the estate. Thereafter, the heirs pursued the restitution of the collection. Restituted by order of the United States District Court, Northern District of Florida, on 6 February 2012, the picture was returned to the heirs of Federico Gentili di Giuseppe on 18 April 2012.