Getty Buys a Bronzino Rediscovery
|Agnolo Bronzino, Virgin and Child with Saint Elizabeth and Saint John the Baptist, 1540-45. J. Paul Getty Museum|
Measuring 40 by 32 inches, the Getty Virgin and Child is clearly signed by the artist on the rock at lower left. It was nonetheless ascribed to Andrea del Sarto at a 1898 Milan sale. It resurfaced as a Bronzino in London, in 1964, only to submerge into a series of private sales among private collections. The Art Newspaper identifies the seller as Chilean economist and billionaire Alvaro Saieh Bendeck and wife Ana Guzmán. The couple's so-called Alana Collection, housed in the college town of Newark, Delaware, is the subject of a show now at the Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris. The Bronzino however is already on display at the Getty Center. It's apparently the first time it's ever been shown in a museum.
|Agnolo Bronzino, The Madonna and Child with Saints, about 1540. National Gallery, London|
|Agnolo Bronzino, Saint John the Baptist, about 1542-45. J. Paul Getty Museum|
Timothy Potts is calling the Virgin and Child "the single most important addition to our 16th-century paintings collection in three decades." That's a bold claim, seemingly rating it higher than the Parmigianino Virgin and Child (acquired 2017) and Titian's Portrait of Alfonso d'Avalos (bought 2003).
In any case, it's the kind of Renaissance painting that hardly comes to market these days. Auction houses may tout "the last" Botticelli, Cimabue, Leonardo, etc., but those are often highly restored relics with ambitious attributions. It's clear the Getty believes the Bronzino Virgin and Child to be the real thing, a well-preserved, complete work of a boldface Renaissance name.
|Giovanni di Balduccio, The Annunciation, 1333-4. J. Paul Getty Museum|
|Giovanni di Balduccio, Madonna and Child, 1332-34. Detroit Institute of Arts|
The Getty has only a few medieval sculptures, and one of them (a Veit Stoss boxwood crucifix) was announced only four months ago. The Annunciation will debut at the Getty Center December 10 in an exhibition of "Acquisitions 2019: Director's Choice."