WASHINGTON, DC.- The National Gallery of Art
has acquired The Stoning of Saint Stephen (c. 1602) by Aurelio Lomi (15561622), the leading painter in Pisa during the last quarter of the 16th century. It joins two other works by Lomi in the Gallerys collection: a figure study in chalk, Studies of a Youth Pulling Ropes (recto); Faint Study of a Youth Pulling a Rope (verso) (1610s), and a small monochrome bozzetto of the Visitation, a preparatory work for a Florence altarpiece from around 1590.
The Stoning of Saint Stephen, a large study in oil on four joined sheets of paper, depicts the martyrdom of one of Genoas patron saints. The composition refers to a touchstone for the entire school: Giulio Romanos altarpiece from c. 1521 in the church of Santo Stefano. The study is closely related to Lomis altarpiece for the church of Santa Maria della Pace (now in Genoas Musei Civici). Besides composition and subject, the two works share certain distinctive details, such as the luminous celestial sphere. However, the study is more expansive and densely populated than the altarpiece, suggesting it may have been an autonomous work.
Created while Lomi was living in Genoa (1597c. 1604), this work is an exquisite example of the artists meticulously constructed compositions and figures, as well as his ability to create works suffused with light. It epitomizes the transition from the stylization of late mannerism to the more naturalistic light, movement, and texture of baroque style.
The National Gallery of Art also acquired Jean Dughets (16191679) The Seven Sacraments (c. 1650), a rare complete set of etchings after Nicolas Poussins (15941665) paintings of the seven sacraments. There are only three other known complete sets of these prints in the collections of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the British Museum, and the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Poussin painted a first set of The Seven Sacraments in 16381642 and a second set in 16441648. He made the first set for Cassiano dal Pozzo, secretary to Cardinal Francesco Barberini and one of Poussins most important patrons. Cassiano took an active interest in the early history of Christianity and most likely suggested the almost unprecedented subject to Poussin. Dughet, Poussins secretary and brother-in-law, made these large-scale etchings after the first set of paintings, which were hung in Cassianos home. Baptism is the first plate in the series and features an elaborate dedication to Cassiano at upper left; the other prints are sequenced according to numbers etched at lower center. Dughet recorded the exact compositions in all of Poussins paintings except for Ordination, in which he incorporated the landscape background from Poussins second painting of this sacrament.
These are the first works by Dughet to enter the collection. They expand the Gallerys holdings of 17th-century French art, which include Poussins painting The Baptism of Christ (1641/1642), from Cassianos first set of The Seven Sacraments.
National Gallery Acquires Its First Painting by Yvonne Thomas
Yvonne Thomas (19132009) is among several important artists from the abstract expressionist era, many of them women, who have been rediscovered in recent years. Portrait (1956), a pivotal work in Thomass career, is the first of her paintings to enter the Gallerys collection and joins an untitled screenprint from 1967.
In 1938 Thomas studied fine art at the Art Students League of New York as well as with Amédée Ozenfant in his atelier. She began to associate with the abstract expressionists, joining discussions at The Club (where she was one of the few members who were women) and at the short-lived school called The Subjects of the Artist. She also studied in Provincetown with Hans Hofmann and exhibited at the renowned Ninth Street Exhibition in 1951. Throughout her work, she combined the gestural language of the New York School painters with sensitive brushstrokes and a lyrical sense of color. In Portrait, the ghostly figurative suggestions and tinted grays evoke an image coming into focus. The painting resonates with works by Judith Godwin, Jack Tworkov, and Frank Lobdell in the Gallerys collection.