JAN CROCQ

ACQUIRED BY THE MUSÉE NATIONAL DU MOYEN ÂGE ( PARIS ) - JAN CROCQ (active 1486-1510) - SAINT JAMES THE MINOR

Polychrome limestone
Lorraine
Late 15th Century
H. 42 cm

Flemish sculptor from Antwerp or Bruges, Jan Crocq probably settled in Lorraine around 1486-1487 where he worked for Duke Rene II between Nancy and Bar-le-Duc. He participated in the decoration of the Ducal Palace in Nancy including the library, and was commissioned by the Duke to make the Tomb of Charles the Bold in the church of Saint-Georges de Nancy (executed in 1506-1507 and destroyed in 1742) . Forerunner of the art of the Renaissance in Lorraine, Jan Crocq played a leading role and strongly influenced the artists of the time, in whom we find stylistic elements of Flemish origin.
Crocq's work is poorly documented and his productions are extremely rare. The Saint Catherine of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Coronation of the Virgin at the Musée National du Moyen Âge in Paris, the Saint Jean held at the Lorrain Museum in Nancy, The Virgin of the Litany of the Church of Notre- Lady of Bar-le-Duc, and the Saint Adrien and Saint Roch of the collegiate Saint-Etienne of Bar-le-Duc.
Standing, slightly swayed, our Saint James the Minor wears a robe and a cloak which give it an imposing appearance; the size of the dress with the powerful and wide pleats increases this impression of strong presence. With his head turned to the right, the apostle, with a firm right hand, holds open the book of his Gospel, which is here associated with his confessor status. Finally, in the left hand, he holds the staff, the instrument of his martyrdom.
 
Exceptional in its monumentality and graphic precision, this statue is similar in style to all the works attributed to it in public collections.
In all his sculptures, Jan Crocq, who probably used the same model for his male characters, hardly represents personalities but rather an archetypal face that he systematically repeats with slight variations in the details. The resemblance of the apostle's face to that of Emperor Maximus in the Saint Catherine's group at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is striking: the sculptor paid the same attention to the execution of anatomical details as the exaggeratedly pointed chin.
It can also be noted that, as in all his figures, the stern and striking face of the apostle is framed by the graphical and exaggerated ripples of the beard and the hair, contrasting with the same precision and the same fineness to the modeling of the features. Beyond the conventional aspect, the technical mastery of the sculptor is here prodigious.
 
The discovery of this unrecorded sculpture by Mathieu Sismann and its attribution by Gabriela Sismann in 2007 bring an additional testimony of the work of this sculptor in the service of the Duke of Lorraine specialized in religious commands. 

 

ACQUIRED BY THE PALAIS FESCH - Musée des Beaux-Arts ( Ajaccio ) - THE DEPOSITION FROM THE CROSS

THE DEPOSITION FROM THE CROSS
Painting on slate (with it's box)
Roman School Escuela Romana
Inicios del siglo 17
44 cm x 56 cm x 5 cm 
Provenance : Fesch Collection

ACQUIRED BY THE PALAIS DES BEAUX ARTS DE LILLE - FRANCE

BUST OF A CROWNED SAINT
Polychrome and Gilt Limewood
Nördlingen, Swabia
Circa 1500-1510
H. 40 cm ; W. 39 cm ; D. 0,19cm

MAITRE H.L.

ACQUIRED BY THE MUSÉE DU LOUVRE - PARIS - FRANCE - MASTER H.L - VIRGIN AND CHILD

MASTER H.L VIRGIN AND CHILD
Master H.L. and his Workshop
Painted Limewood Group of the Virgin and Child
Circa 1520-1530
H. 152 cm

Provenance : Ancienne Collection Claes, Mulhouse

Domenico Guidi

ACQUIRED BY A FOREIGN PRIVATE COLLECTION - DOMENICO GUIDI (1625-1701) - CRISTO VIVO

CRISTO VIVO
Gilt bronze
Rome
End of the 17 th
Century H. 56 cm


The author of this Cristo vivo, in perfect state of preservation and uniformly covered with an exceptional gilding, is Domenico Guidi (1625-1701), one of the main protagonists of the Roman sculpture of the second half of the 17th century (glued to figure and exponent) century with L'Algarde (1598-1654) and Bernini (1598-1680). Born in Carrara, Guidi organized his own workshop in Rome after working with L'Algarde. He surrounded himself with a team of craftsmen, thanks to whom he worked as fast as his competitors. Thus, Guidi was at the origin of a very large production, destined not only to Rome and the rest of Italy but also to Germany, France and Malta.
He was the main person in charge of the change from the high Roman Baroque to the new language of the late Baroque, an evolution well illustrated by his great relief of the Monte di Pietà chapel in Rome, circa 1670. Neutralizing the dramatic language, relaxing tensions, Domenico Guidi brought a powerful dynamism to the Roman art of the second half of the 17th century.

The discovery of this sculpture by Gabriela and Mathieu Sismann aroused the interest of the Historian Tomaso Montanari who published it in a study in 2009.
Bringing a testimony of the highest interest on the work of Domenico Guidi, this bronze is today the main Cristo Vivo by the artist on the art market.

 

ACQUIRED BY THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART OF NEW YORK - U.S.A - SAINT PHILIP

SAINT PHILIP
Alabaster, with traces of gilding and polychromy
Made in Meuse Valley, France or Netherlands
Mid XV th Century
Dimensions : Overall (with base): 16 1/8 x 5 7/8 x 3 11/16 in. (41 x 15 x 9.4 cm)
Figure only: 13 1/8 x 5 7/8 x 3 11/16 in. (33.4 x 14.9 x 9.4 cm)
Base: 2 7/8 x 5 5/8 x 3 1/4in. (7.3 x 14.3 x 8.3cm)

PROVENANCE : Robert Lehman Collection
 

ACQUIRED BY THE MUSÉE DES BEAUX ARTS DE STRASBOURG - SAINTS ANTHONY AND MARGARET

THE SAINTS ANTHONY AND MARGARET
Polychromed and gilded limewood reliefs
Souabia
Late 15 th Century
Saint Anthony: H. 89.5 cm; D. 3 cm; W. 25.5 cm
Saint Margaret: H. 91 cm; D. 3 cm; W. 25 cm

The size and flat back of these important polychrome and gilded reliefs suggest an original placement in an altarpiece, pressed against two wing-panels. It was usual in late German Gothic sculpture to gather locally venerated male and female saints around the Virgin, chosen for their popularity or in relation to the donor’s devotion. The drapery style and facial type of these figures mark them as the work of a Swabian workshop at the end of the 15 th Century. Carved from a single board of wood, as traditionally in Swabia, Anthony and Margaret are nominated by their attributes, the pig and the dragon. The decorative elements and stylistic criteria derive from the Ulmish school, founded by Michel Erhart (active in Ulm around 1469-1522): The characteristic plaited drapery around the waist of Sainte Margaret, the sweet faces pigmented with pink carnations and the polychromy’s refinement are reminiscent of his work. However, the small figures placed at the feet, and finally the little anecdotal details recall the contemporary works under the influence of the Niklaus Weckmann the Elder (cited in Ulm around 1481-1526). Both faces combine elements defined by the sculptor, as the youthful face and wavy heavy locks in the Virgin of the Nativity panel at the Petit Palais in Paris. These Saint Anthony and Saint Margaret reliefs are to be considered as productions from Ulmish workshops of the early sixteenth Century, who maintain a traditional style in the sphere of influence of the great masters. It should be noted how remarkably preserved these polychromed flap reliefs are.

ANONYMOUS FRENCH ARTIST

DONATION TO THE MUSÉE NATIONAL DE LA RENAISSANCE - ECOUEN - FRANCE - Esau selling his birthright to Jacob or "The Lentil Stew"

ESAU SELLING HIS BIRTHRIGHT TO JACOB OR THE " LENTIL STEW "
Silk embroidery
France, Paris ?
First third of the 17th century
H. 18.5 cm ; W. 23 cm

Despite the richness of the textile fund of the National Museum of the Renaissance, rare are the embroidered pieces of preserved historical scenes. In addition to the corporal adorned with a Lamentation on the Dead Christ close to the art of Jean Cousin the father (E.C. 13224), the oval medallion depicting Adoration of the Golden Calf (E.Cl. 1488) and the green embroidered taffeta piece of Parnassus (E.C. 13046), the National Museum of the Renaissance preserves few fabrics entirely covered with embroidery.

The scene represents a passage from Genesis (XXV, 29-34) concerning the twins of Isaac and Rebekah during which Esau, exhausted from the fields, agreed to sell his birthright to his brother Jacob for a dish. of lentils. This excerpt from the Old Testament was frequently produced by painters in the 16th and 17th centuries. Two other scenes from the story of Jacob and Esau adorn the chimneys of the Connétable apartment at the Château d'Ecouen. Its moral significance has also made it a favorite scene in the decorative arts, particularly in the textile field.

The technical implementation is remarkable: applied on a cream taffeta, the stitch of embroidery (flat past and encroaching past) commonly referred to as the "needle painting" is here perfectly mastered. On the reverse, the remains of paper also testify to the technique, because the embroiderers often reinforced the fabric with stiff paper to make it more resistant to the passage of needles.

Visibly too big to come from a liturgical garment, this embroidered fragment could be part of an altar decoration (antependium), a religious ceremony (canopy, wall hanging), a piece of furniture or a secular whole. Although different in its composition, the engraving on the same subject in the illustrated Latin Bible of Théodore de Bry (1627) shows characters wearing the same type of clothing, the same hats and wearing very similar flexible attitudes. The model of the embroiderer is probably to look in the entourage of this engraver.

This donation enriches the typology of embroidery of the fonds, as well as the knowledge of the technique of "needle painting" carried to its highest degree of excellence at the end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth century.

ACQUIRED BY THE MUSEE SAINTE CROIX - POITIERS - FRANCE - ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT FROM THE CHATEAU DE BONNIVET

ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT FROM THE CHATEAU DE BONNIVET
Limestone
France
Early 16th Century

PIERRE JULIEN

ACQUIRED BY A PRIVATE FOREIGN COLLECTION - FRANCE - PIERRE JULIEN ( 1731 - 1796 ) - ORIGINAL TERRACOTTA FIGURE OF HYGIE

Terracotta
Circa 1791 - 1796
France
H. 71 cm

In Greek mythology, Hygie is the daughter of Asklepios (god of medicine) and Epione. Goddess of health, healing, cleanliness and hygiene, Hygie is personified since Antiquity by a woman crowned with laurels and holding a scepter in the hand that designates her as queen of medicine. From his shoulder or his arm, a snake, to whom remedies were attributed, advances to drink in a cup which it holds in his left hand. This "Cup of Hygie" is still used as a symbol of pharmacy in the contemporary world.
This figure in terracotta is in the hand of Pierre Julien (1731-1804), major sculptor of the second half of the eighteenth century.
A pupil of William II Coustou, Julien leads an exceptional career that begins with his reception at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1779, thanks to his Gladiator Mourant (Paris, Louvre Museum) and which is marked by the prestigious commission of the decor of the "Dairy" Queen Marie Antoinette Rambouillet (1785-1787). He became a sculptor appointed by the King and his work is characterized by a very personal interpretation of Antiquity.
It is during one of his stays in Puy-en-Velay, he is indeed from this region, that Pierre Julien model around 1791-1796 small figures in raw lands. Local amateurs show their interest in his works, usually in plaster or mock-ups. It was in 1796 that Julien made among other works a model of the goddess Hygie, preparation for a marble statue for his Parisian doctor. We also know that Colonel Boudinon received in 1805 a plaster representing Hygie, as well as the model of the latter. Another statue of Hygie is mentioned elsewhere in the inventory after the death of the artist on January 28, 1805.
Considered as lost to this day, our Hygie now localized, comes complete with the two tinted plasters preserved at the Crozatier Museum of Puy-en-Velay, the work of reflection of Julien around this subject. Mixing sensuality and nervousness, the elegant, soft and poetic vision of this Hygie is associated with a great technical virtuosity that makes Pierre Julien one of the great masters of French neoclassicism of the late eighteenth century.
 

TERILLI FRANCESCO

ACQUIRED BY A PRIVATE FOREIGN COLLECTION - FRANCESCO TERILLI ( ACTIVE BETWEEN 1596 AND 1633/5) - EXCEPTIONAL SIGNED PAIR OF IVORY FIGURES OF MARY AND SAINT JOHN

FRANCESCO TERILLI ( ACTIVE BETWEEN 1596 AND 1633/5) 
EXCEPTIONAL SIGNED PAIR OF IVORY FIGURES OF MARY AND SAINT JOHN 
Northern Italy 
Circa 1600 
H. 18 cm ; H. 18 cm

Native from Feltro in Veneto, Francesco Terilli (known between 1596 and 1633 to 1635 ) was a versatile sculptor of the early Baroque period working wood, bronze and earth. Particularly active in Feltre as in Venice, some of his productions can be seen in the Basilica of San Giovanni and San Paolo and the Chiesa Redentore, on the Island of Giudecca. The treatment of Terilli's figures are characterized by the sculptor's search of contrast between technical sophistication and deep expressiveness. 

There are a very limited number of ivory statuettes signed by Terilli or that can be assigned to him unambiguously such as the two Crucified Christs at the Museo Civico of Feltre and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (No. Inv. S28S2), and the Scourged Christ kept at the Musée du Louvre ( Inv. N° OA3917), all dated towards 1600. Luckily, Francesco Terilli monogrammed some of his ivories "FTF" or "FFF", a common practice in Germanic countries. No such practice occurs in Italy, which partly explains the lack of knowledge of Italian ivories from the 17th and 18th centuries. 

Our two figures, Mary and Saint John, each have a monogram stamped under their base. Saint John is accompanied by the monogram "FFF" ( Francisco Feltrensis Fecit ) and Mary is accompanied by the monogram "FTF" ( Francisco Terilli Fecit ). They belong to the same typology as the pair signed by Francesco Terilli kept at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna ( Inv. N° KK - 4534 and KK - 4536), as our figures share the same quality of execution, plastic density, scale forms and softness of the features. They differ only in a few minor variations. 

The scarcity of existing signed works by Francesco Terilli make the discovery of this pair of ivories all the more important due to its historical and artistic interest. 



 

ACQUIRED BY THE KATOEN NATIE ART FOUNDATION - ANTWERPEN - NETHERLANDS

MEMENTO MORI
Eastern
France
Sandstone
17 th Century
H. 105 cm

GUGLIEMO DELLA PORTA

ACQUIRED BY A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION - GUGLIEMO DELLA PORTA ( 1500 - 1577 ) - CHRIST CRUCIFIED

GUGLIEMO DELLA PORTA ( 1500 - 1577 )
CHRIST CRUCIFIED 
Rome
Gilt bronze
Between 1569 and 1577
H. 42cm

ACQUIRED BY COLLECTION LAMBERT EN AVIGNON - KNEELING DONOR

KNEELING DONOR 
Limestone with traces of polychromy
Burgundy
Mid 15th Century
H. 24.5 cm

PRIVATE COLLECTION - U.S.A - FORMER YVES SAINT LAURENT AND PIERRE BERGE COLLECTION FROM THE CHÂTEAU GABRIEL

PAIRE OF CARYATIDES
Polychrome walnut
Venice Mid 16 th Century
H. 204 cm

These caryatids have been designed to fit into an interior design for the  unique  purpose of decorating the room.
Represented by three quarters, wrapped in drapes and accompanied by garlands of flowers and fruit, both figures lift their arms asymmetrically. Their attitude has been designed according to a common vision and a common point of view, showing that they were intended to remain detached . This makes an  assumption of a destination for a single structure likely because their small bases have limited  surfaces and make it necessary to fix them on a wall due to balance issues. 
Our pair of caryatids truly marks the transition from Mannerism to the Baroque : built on a pattern of contortion and Michelangelesque monumentality, the theatrical mise en scène imposes itself spectacularly.
The Moorish features and the style of these sculptures take us to Venice, a city where sculptors and craftsmen specialized in these great achievements brought to life by a generation working around the fantastic and prolific Andrea Brustolon (1662-1732). The spectacular Altar of souls (1685) in the church of San Floriano in the  municipality of Pieve di Zoldo, is a reference in the matter .
In a general way, and in particular the proportions of the bodies, these two caryatids are comparable to the famous caryatids in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco (1665-1670) and those of Pietro Morando  (1662-1672) in the church of San Pietro Martire in Murano. It is also possible to connect them to the typology of the telamons developed by  Giacomo Piazzetta (1640-1705) in the Chapel of the Rosary in San Giovanni e Paolo, dated from the 1680s , or his  Telamons at the  Ca'd'Oro, whose arrangement of the drapery are reflected in ours.
However, the softer contours of the body, the use of gilding and ornamental vocabulary combining geometric and plant motifs, allow earlier dating to the years 1630-1650, a period in which we find these features on the site of the parish church of San Pietro Martire. Another comparison of interest is a frame from Murano carved in 1634 by Francesco Mezzanotte, and now visible in the Old Sacristy of Santa Maria della Salute, in which we can recognize  the same scrolls and garlands of fruit and flowers than in our caryatids.
A second frame decorated with a pair of figures comparable to ours, exhibited at the Civic Museum of Padua, shows these same similarities as well as the extravagance of the attitudes and the combination of dark wood and gilding .

PIETRO AND GIOVANNI ALAMANNO

ACQUIRED BY FONDATION GANDUR POUR L'ART, GENEVE - VIRGIN MARY KNEELING IN ADORATION

Wood figure
Naples
End of the 15th Century
H. 120 cm; W: 80 cm ; D. 76 cm


 

BENEDETTO BRIOSCO

ACQUIRED BY THE ALANA COLLECTION, Newark, Delaware, USA - BENEDETTO BRIOSCO ( 1460 - 1517 ) - PORTRAIT OF LUDOVICO IL MORO

BENEDETTO BRIOSCO ( 1460 - 1517 )
PORTRAIT OF LUDOVICO IL MORO
White marble high-relief medallion
Lombardy
Circa 1500
Diam. 55 cm

Cet important médaillon en marbre blanc s’inscrit dans la tradition des portraits de la Dynastie Sforza. Datant des années 1490-1500, il est l’œuvre d’un artiste travaillant dans la région de Milan et de Pavie. Il représente le duc de Milan Ludovic Sforza dit le More, l’une des plus grandes figures de la Renaissance Italienne qui mourut en captivité en France(1). Vu de profil à droite, Ludovic porte une importante chaîne et un col serré qui encadre son visage au cou puissant, au nez fort, à la petite bouche mince, aux sourcils fortement marqués. Par-delà les conventions, s’affirme une éblouissante maîtrise de métier:  le visage sévère apparaît comme une image saisissante du prince servie par une souplesse de modelé. Ce naturalisme inspire le traitement des plis du cou ainsi que les détails réalistes des rides et des souples ondulations de la chevelure qui ont été soigneusement repris à l’outil. Par sa présentation, en buste et en profil, ce portrait de Ludovic le More appartient à la grande famille des portraits italiens du Quattrocento influencés par la tradition de l’Antiquité. S’inspirant des portraits en médaillon que le goût des médailles antiques avait alors mis à la mode (la tradition du portrait monétaire réintroduite dans les cours de la Renaissance vers les années 1460 est, par ailleurs, très chère à la dynastie des Sforza, qui figurent  parmi les premiers princes italiens à se faire représenter sur une monnaie), le sculpteur développe fortement les aspects psychologiques et physionomistes de son modèle. D’une rigueur et d’une monumentalité exceptionnelles,  notre bas-relief  s’inscrit dans le courant réaliste des portraits officiels exaltant la personnalité de l’individu, ce qui est propre au nouvel humanisme italien. On en a assez souvent souligné l’orgueil et le réalisme psychologique dont témoignent Sigismond Malatesta et Fréderic de Montefeltre dans les peintures de Piero della Francesca et dans les bas-reliefs d’Agostino di Duccio à Rimini. Quant aux médaillons représentant les portraits des Sforza, ils témoignent de l’importance de la décoration architecturale des palais et des châteaux lombards où les ducs régnaient en maîtres. Destinés à être contemplés de loin, ces bas-reliefs exigent des contours lisibles se détachant avec netteté des fonds lisses. En transférant le portrait monétaire intimiste au médaillon monumental architectural taillé dans la pierre, les dignitaires se mesurent non seulement à l’Antiquité mais à l’immortalité. S’insérant dans l’édifice, ils appartiennent au répertoire décoratif constitué en Toscane dans les années 1420-1430 (Palais Ruccelai d’Alberti, le Palais Ricardi de Michelozzo, l’Abbaye de Fiesole...) rapidement diffusé dans l’Italie du Nord, d’où il passera par la suite en France. En Lombardie, les sculpteurs optent pour accentuer le graphisme et le réalisme de ces bustes en relief développant de cette manière un courant plus personnel. Étonnamment les portraits sculptés des Sforza,  négligés par les  historiens,  sont peu documentés et les reproductions sont très rares d’où la difficile tâche d’étudier un médaillon comme le nôtre. A ceci, il faut ajouter la complexité de l’organisation des différents ateliers lombards au cours des xve et xvie siècles ainsi que la cohabitation des personnalités fortes travaillant sur un même chantier comme celui de la Chartreuse de Pavie(2).  Quoi qu’il en soit, notre portrait montre bien sa parenté avec ces médaillons lombards, notamment avec les portraits des Sforza dans la Chartreuse de Pavie que Ludovic décide d’achever de la façon la plus luxueuse. L’édifice construit en brique est ainsi paré de marbre de Carrare et incrusté de la décoration sculptée la plus grandiose possible. Elle réunit les plus importants architectes et sculpteurs du règne des Sforza, en monopolisant le travail sur tous les grands projets de construction. La statuaire de la Chartreuse offre, quant à elle, un intérêt majeur pour l’étude de l’art lombard et celle des relations avec les écoles de Venise et de Rome. Bien que la responsabilité de chaque sculpteur soit encore mal définie, il semblerait qu’ils aient suivi la direction de Benedetto Briosco (actif entre 1477-1514), figure centrale de l’école lombarde de la Renaissance(3). Œuvre exceptionnelle dans la région, la Chartreuse symbolise l’influence du goût all’antica  abandonnant par ce choix le style gothique local. Le style de l’ensemble n’est d’ailleurs pas homogène et résulte de plusieurs mains : Giovanni Amadeo (1447-1522), Antonio Mantegnazza (actif à Pavie entre 1464-1482), ou encore Cristoforo Romano (1470-1512)  participent de cette manière à la réalisation d’une centaine de portraits décoratifs ne rejetant pas pour autant le réalisme. Tous ces reliefs se caractérisent par le réalisme et l’exagération frappante des rides au coin de l’œil – comme dans notre médaillon – qui contrastent avec le modelé précis des visages, comme dans les médailles.  L’atelier de Briosco suit avec constance cette même idée de jeu de doubles plis pour représenter les rides au coin de l’oeil, mais de manière encore plus graphique dans le portrait de Ludovic situé dans la galerie des ducs de Sforza décorant  la Vieille Sacristie de la Chartreuse (Ill. 1). D’autre part, les sourcils traités en forme de «tresse»  nous permettent de mettre le médaillon en relation avec la Statue Funéraire de Ludovic le More 1497-1499 par Cristoforo Solari (1460-1527) connu aussi sous le nom de Il Gobbio. Cette particularité ne fait que souligner les liens qui unissent notre médaillon avec la Chartreuse de Pavie. Parallèlement à la Chartreuse de Pavie, on peut également rapprocher notre œuvre d’une série de portraits en médaillons  représentant Ludovic le More de profil conservés à l’étranger. Considérés comme issus de la main de Benedetto Briosco ou de son atelier, ils présentent une unité de style, de format et de matière qui atteste de leur appartenance à ce même atelier. Il est particulièrement intéressant de comparer notre médaillon à celui attribué à Briosco, qui, conservé au  Musée Jacquemart-André à Paris4 (Ill. 2), est considéré comme une réplique fidèle de celui réalisé vers l’an 1497 pour la galerie de la Vieille Sacristie de la Chartreuse. On y
voit  le buste de Ludovic se détachant de manière très nette du fond du médaillon, comme dans le nôtre; il apparaît habillé d’un survêtement à col haut suivant les coutumes vestimentaires en usage dans les milieux princiers de la fin du XVe siècle. Un remarquable sens du modelé s’associe à la vérité physique et psychologique dans ces deux portraits. Enfin, nous retrouvons ces mêmes caractéristiques dans d’autres médaillons contemporains représentant Ludovic le More et attribués aussi à Briosco et, par ailleurs, les seuls connus à l’heure actuelle. Se présentant  tous sous des dimensions quasiment identiques à celles de notre médaillon, ils constituent des fragments de frise architecturale et, comme probablement le nôtre, ils ont été rétirés de leur lieu d’origine. Le musée du Louvre en possède un(5), ainsi que le musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon(6) et la National Gallery de Washington(7). L’ identification de notre personnage repose essentiellement sur le rapprochement de notre portrait avec ces autres médaillons représentant Ludovic le More, mais il est possible aussi de le comparer avec des portraits peints conservés, pour la plupart, en Italie, fidèles aux textes le décrivant de son vivant comme un homme de haute stature aux traits excessivement accentués, avec le nez plus qu’aquilin, le menton très bas, l’ensemble de la physionomie d’une mobilité excessive, le teint olivâtre qui lui vaut le surnom de « Mor e» dont il en tire de la vanité au point d’adopter pour emblème un mûrier qui en italien se dit « Moro ». On retrouve la chaîne de Ludovic évocatrice du faste de sa cour, ainsi que sa coiffure et son profil, caractéristiques de ses portraits les plus célèbres : la Pala Sforzesca  conservée à la Pinacoteca di Brera à  Milan;  le Couronnement de la Vierge (  Ambrogio da Fossano, dit Bergognone – daté de 1488-1489 – situé dans le transept de la Chartreuse de Pavie) ; le frontispice de la Sforziada (Giovanni Simonetta, Milan – 1490 – conservé à la  Bibliothèque Nationale de France) ; les portraits monétaires par Caradosso conservés au British Museum et les deux portraits anonymes conservés à la Pinacothèque Brera et à la Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Ces comparaisons sont autant d’indices qui font indéniablement de ce Portrait  de Ludovic le More l’une des créations des ateliers de Pavie ou de Milan, très probablement dans l’entourage de Benedetto Briosco.  Le style et l’exécution virtuose de notre portrait plaident  en faveur de cette théorie. On sait l’extrême rareté de ces portraits sculptés de Ludovic le More hors d’Italie. La découverte de ce médaillon qui n’avait jamais été étudié est d’autant plus importante que celui-ci est encore inconnu du public.

NOTES
1. Duc de Milan de 1480 à 1494, Ludovic le More (Vigevano 1451-Loches 1508) est un homme politique ambitieux et sans scrupules qui gouverne le duché au nom de son neveu Gian Galeazzo et s’empare définitivement  du pouvoir à la mort suspecte de celui-ci. Considéré comme une vraie figure de légende, Ludovic incarne le prince conquérant et le mécène fastueux du Quattrocento qui se plaît à s’entourer d’une pléiade d’humanistes. Habité d’une ambition dévorante, il  protège ainsi les deux plus grands artistes de sa génération, Donato Bramante et Léonard de Vinci, dans l’intention de concurrencer la Florence des Médicis. C’est ainsi que notre condottiere tient à Milan une cour exceptionnellement brillante qu’utilise  l’iconographie impériale classique dans l’intention de promouvoir l’idéologie des Sforza et les arts du spectacle s’en inspirent comme d’une expression de la « magnificence » princière. Le règne de Ludovic marque l’apogée artistique de la Lombardie dont le symbole est le monument le plus somptueusement décoré de la Renaissance Italienne: la Chartreuse de Pavie.
2. Pour l’étude de l’œuvre sculpté de la Chartreuse se reporter à l’ouvrage de Charles R. Morscheck : Relief Sculpture for the facade of the Certosa di Pavia, 1473-1499, New York, 1978. La tradition lombarde de la collaboration entre sculpteurs engendrant la difficulté de l’identification d’un artiste ou d’un style est expliquée dans Anthony Roth, « The Lombard sculptor Benedetto Briosco: works of the 1490’s », The Burlington Magazine, January 1980, Vol. CXXII, n° 922. 3. La discussion sur l’œuvre de Benedetto Briosco et sur son influence est résumée dans Anthony Roth, 1980 et  Charles Seymour Jr., Sculpture in Italy 1400 to 1450, London, 1968, pp.194-195. 4. Reproduit sous le numéro d’inventaire 1798 dans le Catalogue : Sculpture Italienne, Musée Jacquemart - André , 1975, fig. 99. 5. Comportant le numéro d’inventaire R.F. 615. 6. N° d’Inventaire D-47. Se reporter à  François Planet, «Médaillons de marbre provenant du Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon : nouvelles propositions d’identification », Bulletin des Musées et Monuments Lyonnais, 1997, pp. 18-21. 7. N° d’Inventaire 1937.1.120 Voir : Sculpture: An illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1994.

Colin Nouailher

ACQUIRED BY THE MUSEE NATIONAL DE LA RENAISSANCE - ECOUEN - FRANCE - Nouailher Colin (active 1539 - known until 1567) - Pair of enamel plaques depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ

Nouailher Colin (active 1539 - known until 1567)
Pair of enamel plaques depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ
Limoges
Mid 16th century

F. ROUCOURT

ACQUIRED BY THE MUSÉE DES ARTS DÉCORATIFS DE NAMUR - ALLEGORY OF CHARITY

Patinated terracotta
Signed and dated at the back : 1794/Roucourt
H. 87 cm, Diam. 53 cm

 

ACQUIRED BY THE TASSENMUSEUM HENDRIKJE - MUSEUM OF BAGS AND PURSES - AMSTERDAM - NETHERLANDS

CLUTCH BAG
Velvet
Renaisance period

CLAUS DE WERVE

ACQUIRED BY A PRIVATE FOREIGN COLLECTION - CLAUS DE WERVE ( 1380- ca.1439 ) - SAINT PETER

CLAUS DE WERVE ( 1380 -  ca.1439 )
SAINT PETER
Limestone
Early 15th Century
H. 47 cm

JEAN DE LA HUERTA

ACQUIRED BY A FRENCH PRIVATE COLLECTION - JEAN DE LA HUERTA (1413 - vers 1462) - SAINT

JEAN DE LA HUERTA (1413 - vers 1462) 
SAINT
Limestone with traces of polychromy
Burgundy
C. 1450-1460
H. 51 cm

FRANCESCO LADATTE

ACQUIRED BY A PRIVATE FOREIGN COLLECTION - PAIR OF ALLEGORICAL GROUPS OF AIR AND FIRE

PAIR OF ALLEGORICAL GROUPS OF AIR AND FIRE
Terracotta
Italy
C. 1750
H. 28.5 cm and 31.5 cm

ACQUIRED BY THE MUSÉE NATIONAL DE LA RENAISSANCE - ECOUEN - FRANCE

VIRGIN AND CHILD Painting Under glass Probably Germany Circa 1500