60.5 x 43.2cm panel; 93.5 x 52.2 x 9.0cm frame
With its gold-ground and tempera technique, this devotional altarpiece is an example of the international Gothic style that survived in Siena well into the fifteenth century. Noted for the richness and variety of his palette, Sano di Pietro was a successful master who ran a busy workshop in that city. He seems to have been familiar with Venetian religious painting, a certain Byzantine preciousness being part of his repertoire. A number of Sano's subjects focused on the life and works of San Bernardino, a controversial local saint the painter had known personally. It was Bernardino who conceived the device of the Holy Name in the Sun, an emblem in which twelve solar rays represented twelve articles of faith promulgated by the Apostles. For this doctrinal innovation he was charged with heresy. In this panel, Bernardino's participation is restricted to that of an auxiliary figure. Appropriately, it is the blue-mantled Virgin and her delightful infant who hold our attention.
AGNSW Handbook, 1999.
John Fairfax & Sons (Australia), Oct 1970-18 Apr 1971, Australia, Gift of John Fairfax and Sons 1971
Agnew's, London (England, estab. 1817), Oct 1970, London/England, Purchased by John Fairfax and Sons Ltd from the exhibition 'Paintings and drawings from Agnew's London', held at David Jones Art Gallery, Sydney 7-24 October 1970
Jocelyn Fielding (England), 10 Apr 1970-Oct 1970?, England, Purchased Christie's London, 10 April 1970, lot no. 92
Joanna Parsons, pre 10 Apr 1970, England, Sold Christie's London, 10 April 1970, lot no. 92
Sir Thomas Neave (England), 19th century, Essex/England
Donald Brook, The Sydney Morning Herald 08 Oct 1970, 'The Unmomentous Old Masters', Sydney, 08 Oct 1970.
David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, Paintings and drawings from Agnew's, London 1970, 1970. cat.no. 1
Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales Handbook, 'European', pg. 36-56, Domain, 1988, 37 (colour illus.).
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Paintings and Sculpture', pg. 17-77, Domain, 1999, 18 (colour illus.).
Michael Mohi (Editor), The many faces of Christ, Sydney, 2000, 36 (colour illus.).
Iris Origo, The World of San Bernardino, London, 1963.
John Pope-Hennessy, Siennese quattrocento painting, London, 1947.
Peter Tomory and Robert Gaston, European Paintings before 1800 in Australian and New Zealand public collections, Sydney, 1989, 92 (illus.). fig.no. 274
Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald 19 Apr 1971, 'Art gift marks 140 years', Sydney, 19 Apr 1971, 1 (illus.), 3 (illus.). illustration on page one is a detail
Paintings and drawings from Agnew's London: