Moretti Fine Art Celebrates 10 Years at TEFAF MAASTRICHT


Moretti Fine Art will mark ten years at TEAF Maastricht with some exceptional Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Italian paintings and works of art. The fair, which is the world’s leading art and antiques event, is celebrating its Silver Jubilee and will take place at the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre (MECC) from 16 to 25 March 2012. Stand 384.

One of the rarities Moretti will be offering is a terracotta figure of a lion dating from around 1715 by Giovan Battista Foggini (Florence, 1652-1725), almost certainly a model produced by this great Tuscan sculptor for a commemorative monument to England’s Queen Anne. Foggini was the court sculptor and architect to the Medici from 1687 until his death. In 1711 the British Parliament decided to celebrate their monarch Queen Anne who had ascended the throne in 1702. Initially they planned to build fifty new churches but the cost was too high, so in 1714 it was decided to build just one, Saint Mary-le-Strand, and commission a statue of the sovereign.

John Talman, scholar and collector of Italian art and antiquities, commissioned Foggini to build the monument which, had it been completed, would have been one of the most important accomplishments of public statuary in 18th century Europe as illustrated by the surviving Foggini drawings in the Uffizi in Florence. One of these drawings depicts two lions seen from the back, one of which closely follows this model as it crouches, back arched and powerful, twisting its head with jaws open wide. These drawings, together with this recently-identified terracotta model, represent the only figurative evidence of this extraordinary commission. The modeling of the lion is especially skilled and vigorous, capturing the innate power, pride, majesty and monumentality of the animal even in this small scale. The figure, which retains its original patina simulating bronze, is priced at €380,000. (fig. 1)

A splendid gold-ground panel of The Virgin and Child in Glory between Saint Paul, Saint John the Baptist, Saint Bartholomew the Apostle and Saint Catherine of Alexandria by Rossello di Jacopo Franchi (Florence, c.1376-1456) depicts the Virgin in glory sitting on a cushion holding the Child who is standing on her knees. Two cherubs fly on either side of the Virgin while a third holds up the cloud supporting her. God the Father is depicted in the roundel at the centre of the pinnacle. The panel is entirely original, which is extremely rare, and in an exceptional state of preservation. Such small panels were made for private devotion and the style of this hitherto unpublished example reveals the hand of Franchi especially in the elegant rendering of the drapery, the luminous colours laid over each other, the meticulous attention paid to the gilding and punching of the halos and to such decorative details as the rings on the fingers of the Virgin, the design of the fabric of her clothes and the cushion, the white lilies on the vase and the sandals of Saint John the Baptist. (price in the region of €450,000 ) (fig. 2)

Madonna and Child by Pasqualino Veneto (Venice, fl. 1496-1504) is a prime example by the artist and in excellent condition. The few pictures by him that have survived mostly depict a Madonna and Child either in a landscape or in an interior with a landscape background. The most well-known examples are in the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University and the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht, the latter has a similar composition which corresponds to a design by Giovanni Bellini of the 1480s and is most like the picture being offered by Moretti. Other works by Pasqualino Veneto are more closely related in style and composition to the art of Cima da Conegliano, whose pupil or assistant he must have been. (price in the region of €400,000) (fig. 3a)

Visitors to Moretti Fine Art’s Stand 384 will encounter a selection of Italian paintings and sculpture that continue to appeal to collectors. Amongst them will be a group of works from the collection of Carlo de Carlo (1931-1999), Florence’s undisputed leading dealer in gold-ground paintings, Medieval and Renaissance art. As well as being a successful and highly-respected dealer he formed a private collection which was a monument to his connoisseurship.

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