GIOVANNI DI NICCOLÓ MANSUETI
Venice, 1485 – 1527
Madonna with Child
oil on panel, cm 59×46
We owe the identification of this work on wood and the recognition of its author to Mattia Vinco, who has seen his intuition confirmed thanks to the rediscovery of an old black and white reproduction contained in Federico Zeri’s photo archive (inventory 62482, no. 25362) with the connoisseur’s attribution to the Venetian artist and information on its origin before 1974, i.e. the O. Klein collection of New York.
Mansueti, who is known to have been close to Gentile Bellini ever since the onset of his career – “in the cartouche of the telero of the Miracle of the relic of the Holy Cross in campo S. Lio he declares himself to be a “pupil of Bellini”, most likely with reference to Gentile” – has subsequently proven to have benefited from the examples of Carpaccio, of Cima da Conegliano and above all of Giovanni Bellini.
Vinco, who in his exhaustive study dates the execution of this work on wood to between 1510 and 1515, observes that the “Jesus Child leaning to one side while giving a blessing” represents “a solution which was frequently adopted by Giovanni Mansueti”, just as the “seated Madonna, with her legs and bust generally rotated towards the left and her hand supporting the food of the Jesus Child”. Another characteristic trait is the “regular and uniform craquelure” of the white lead, “probably due to the composition of the pigment”, which the scholar has also found in other works by the artist. Another peculiar trait of the Venetian author is the evident underlying drawing, which has emerged with the passing of the centuries, and which is particularly evident “on the height of the Madonna’s left hand and the Jesus Child’s left foot” and which is “probably attributable to the use of a cartoon”; a similar drawing can also be found in works as Christ standing between the Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist of Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen (KMS 556).
Catalogo Fototeca Fondazione Zeri, inv. 62482, entry no. 25362.