Madonna and Child; Saint John the Baptist; Saint Jerome
Sano di Pietro (Ansano di Pietro di Mencio) (Italian, Siena 1405–1481 Siena)
Tempera on wood, gold ground
Central panel, overall, with engaged frame, 17 3/8 x 12 5/8 in. (44.1 x 32.1 cm), painted surface 14 3/4 x 10 1/8 in. (37.5 x 25.7 cm); each wing, overall, with engaged frame, 17 3/8 x 6 1/4 in. (44.1x 15.9 cm), painted surface 15 1/2 x 4 5/8 in. (39.4 x 11.7 cm)
Gift of Irma N. Straus, 1964
Not on view
Sano di Pietro produced a large number of private devotional altarpieces similar to this one, where the traditional format of the central panel contrasts with the more naturalistically conceived wings. This triptych dates about 1450–55.
Inscription: Inscribed: (on Madonna's halo) AVE·GRATIA PLENA·DOMIN[VS]; (on Christ Child's halo) [EGO] SVM; (on Saint John's scroll) ECCE AGNVSD[EI]
conte (later marchese) Giovanni Battista Costabili-Containi, Ferrara (by 1835–d. 1841; cat., 1835, no. 205, without attribution); his nephew, marchese Giovanni Battista Costabili-Containi, Ferrara (1841–d. 1882; cats., 1871, 1872, no. 45, as "Incerto, di maniera de' Giotteschi" [exhibited for sale]; his estate, 1882–85; his estate sale, Sambon, Milan, April 27, 1885, no. 1, as school of Cimabue [central panel] and school of Giotto [wings]); Jesse Isidor Straus, New York (by 1928–d. 1936); Mrs. Jesse Isidor (Irma N.) Straus, New York (1936–64)
Pitture della raccolta del co.te Gio Batta Costabili di Ferrara. 1835, c. 21v, no. 205 [Biblioteca dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna, ms A1324; see Ref. Mattaliano 1998], describes it and calls it "antichissima e piccola tavola per traverso così bella che dicesi di Giotto".
Camillo Laderchi. Descrizione della quadreria Costabili. Vol. 1, L'antica scuola ferrarese. Ferrara, 1838, p. 24, no. 4, attributes it to Galasso Galassi.
Giovanni Rosini. Storia della pittura italiana esposta coi monumenti. Vol. 2, 2nd ed. Pisa, 1848, pp. 158, 173 n. 8, pl. 241, as by Galasso Galassi.
J[oseph]. A[rcher]. Crowe and G[iovanni]. B[attista]. Cavalcaselle. A History of Painting in North Italy: Venice, Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Ferrara, Milan, Friuli, Brescia, from the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century. London, 1871, vol. 1, p. 515 n. 3, attribute it to Sano di Pietro.
[Gaetano Giordani]. Catalogo de' quadri di varie scuole pittoriche nella galleria Costabili in Ferrara. Bologna, 1871, p. 7, no. 45, as of uncertain attribution, in the matter of the Giotteschi; notes that the collection is exhibited for sale.
[Gaetano Giordani]. Catalogo de' quadri di varie scuole pittoriche nella galleria Costabili in Ferrara. Bologna, 1872, no. 45 [see Ref. Mattaliano 1998].
J[oseph]. A[rcher]. Crowe and G[iovanni]. B[attista]. Cavalcaselle. A History of Painting in North Italy: Venice, Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Ferrara, Milan, Friuli, Brescia, from the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century. Ed. Tancred Borenius. 2nd ed. [1st ed. 1871]. London, 1912, vol. 2, p. 223 n. 4.
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 500, lists it as by Sano di Pietro.
Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 430.
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Central Italian and North Italian Schools. London, 1968, vol. 1, p. 376.
Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sienese and Central Italian Schools. New York, 1980, pp. 82–83, pls. 54 (obverse), 55 (reverse), date it to the artist's early middle period, perhaps about 1450–55.
Jaynie Anderson. "The Rediscovery of Ferrarese Renaissance Painting in the Risorgimento." Burlington Magazine 135 (August 1993), p. 546, figs. 33, 34 (detail of left wing during treatment), states that Costabili was against the intrusive restoration of his paintings, and that after they left his collection they were often extensively and deceptively repainted; uses the restoration discovered around the figure of Saint John the Baptist as an example of this practice.
Emanuele Mattaliano. La collezione Costabili. Venice, 1998, p. 34–35, no. 4, ill. pp. 178–79 (open, obverse and reverse, and closed), gives early bibliography.
Mojmír S. Frinta. "Part I: Catalogue Raisonné of All Punch Shapes." Punched Decoration on Late Medieval Panel and Miniature Painting. Prague, 1998, pp. 191, 261, 425, classifies the punch marks appearing in this painting.
Mauro Natale and Giovanni Sassu inCosmè Tura e Francesco del Cossa: l'arte a Ferrara nell'età di Borso d'Este. Ed. Mauro Natale. Exh. cat., Palazzo dei Diamanti and Palazzo Schifanoia. Ferrara, 2007, pp. 40, 59 n. 13, compare the misguided restoration of the Saint John the Baptist panel (see Anderson 1993) with that of a work (Pisanello, Portrait of Leonello d'Este; Accademia Carrara, Bergamo) also formerly in the Costabili collection.
Dóra Sallay. "Early Sienese Paintings in Hungarian Collections, 1420–1520." PhD diss., Central European University, Budapest, 2008, p. 100 n. 200, mentions it as an example of a rectangular portable triptych.
Old Master & British Paintings. Christie's, London. July 3, 2012, p. 110, under no. 27.
The painted decoration on the backs of the two wings is original.