EUSEBIO DA SAN GIORGIO (ATTRIBUTE A)
(PEROUSE TO 1465-APRES 1539)
Virgin and Child
46 x 34,5 cm
On the reverse side on the upper moulding of the frame, in black ink on brown lacunar paper :
Original from Perugin/Vente de la comtesse de Verrue 1737/rare painting//Antoine Crozat
17th century gilded wooden frame in curved shape with relief decoration inserted in a rectangular gilded and painted frame; on the reverse side dates from 1659 (?)
Here the artist reinterprets the figures of the Madonna and Child from Perugino's altarpieces created around 1500, in a somewhat similar position, particularly The Madonna of the Flagellants (disciplinati) from the National Gallery of Umbria in Perugia and the Pala Tezi (same museum).
The three-quarter virgin is sitting on the edge of a low wall and holds the naked Child in her lap. The heads and gazes of the two sacred figures are leaning to the left towards a possible figure that the Child seems to bless. The virginal group stands out in front of a cloth of honour that serves as a backrest in the foreground of a distant landscape dominated by a luminous sky. On the left side the artist has placed the scene of the stigmatization of St. Francis in the presence of Friar Elijah at the foot of the rock of La Verna from which a hail tree rises. This iconographic element allows us to suppose that the commissioner of the painting could have been Francis.
The execution of this unpublished work must be placed among the works of Eusebio da San Giorgio, one of the main collaborators of Pietro Vannucci known as Perugino (1450-1523).The landscaped setting for the characters is typical of Perugino's works and Eusebio takes up the same layout; he also borrows from the Umbrian master the attitude of the Virgin taken from the Palazzo dei Decemviri in 1495-1496 for the Palazzo dei Priori in Perugia (Rome, Pinacoteca Vaticana) and reiterated in the Madonna della Consoluzione (1496) and the Palazzo Tezi in 1500 (Perugia, Galeria Nazionale dell'Umbria; cf. Perugino, il divino pittore, exhibition Perugia, 28 February-18 July 2004, cat. 1.45, 1.47).
This compositional scheme, in which, in detail, the blue mantle of the Virgin is folded over her knees and the flap that rises on her right shoulder, leaving the green lining visible, is a recurring Perugino ponciff in many of the Madonnas of the master or his workshop. Eusebio takes it up again here, adding his own personal touch with the presence of the scarf wrapped around the Virgin's shoulders. As for the child, it is a replica of the one appearing in the above-mentioned works of Perugino. In spite of these borrowings, a traditional practice in Renaissance workshops, Eusebio differs from his master's style by more slender proportions, a more linear drawing of the contours, mainly in the oval face of the virgin whose expression of languid sadness expresses the premonitory feeling of the future of the Child.
Our painting can be compared to Eusebio's drawing of a young woman's Head (the Virgin?,Louvre, Department of Graphic Arts) or of the Madonna and Child and a Saint (Parma private collection; cf. F. Todini, La Pittura Umbra, Milan 1989, vol. II, fig.1342) and date its execution to the end of the last decade of the fifteenth century.
On the biography of Eusebio da San Giorgio, cf. M.R. Silvestrelli in la Pittura in Italia, Il Cinquecento, 1988, vol. II. ad voc.) and C. Fratini, in Dizionario biografico degli italiani, Rome 1993, vol. 43, ad voc.)
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