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Observations on the Coronation of the Virgin Attributed to Guido Da Siena in the Courtauld Institute Gallery, London Author(s): Caroline

Villers and Astrid Lehner Reviewed work(s): Source: Zeitschrift fr Kunstgeschichte, 65. Bd., H. 3 (2002), pp. 289-302 Published by: Deutscher Kunstverlag GmbH Munchen Berlin Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4150705 . Accessed: 21/09/2012 15:43
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Observations on the Coronation of the Virgin

attributedto Guido Da Siena in the CourtauldInstituteGallery,London

i. Attributedto Guido da Siena,Coronationof the Virgin.Egg tempera,oil on panel,last quarterof the thirteenthcentury.London, CourtauldInstituteGallery

The Coronation of the Virgin is a fragment of a larger thirteenth century painting. Since its bequest to the University of London, 1947, and display in the Courtauld Institute Gallery, 1958, the panel has attracted interest and speculation (figs. 1-2).' Attributed to the circle of Guido da Siena it has been published as the earliest example of the import of the Coronation iconography into Italy, innovative in incorporating the text of the Office of the Assumption. Presumably a gable, it has been variously reconstructed as part of an altarpiece. Yet, stylistic, iconographic and documentary research have not yet led to real understanding. The present study adopts the approach of investigating the physical history of the painting as a means of discovering the way in which the painting may have changed over seven
I Catalogue of the Lee Collection, London 1962, 26; General Catalogue of the Courtauld Institute Galleries, London 197o, No. 14, 7. This study in based on Astrid Lehner, Guido da Siena, investigations into Ducento technique and iconography,Final year thesis,

hundred years. In the process, previous assumptions are challenged and, it is hoped, a better basis for further study is provided. The technical examination on which this paper is based was prompted by an exhibition to be held at the Lindenau-Museum, Altenburg in 2oo001.According to the terms of the bequest to the Courtauld Institute Gallery the Coronation of the Virgin is not available for exhibition outside London. The question of reconstruction will be left to a comprehensive discussion in the forthcoming catalogue.3 On 14th July 1933, the Italian dealer Luigi Albrighi wrote to Lord Lee of Fareham describing a visit to the house of an elderly, aristocratic woman in Florence where he had discovered a wonderful painting by Filippo Lippi. In a post3 Exhibition April - August 2ooi Lindenau-Museum,

Altenburg.We are very gratefulto the LindenauMuseumfor allowingus to sampletheirpaintings and to Barbara John and Holger Manzkefor many interesting discussions. B. John, Guido da Siena's Misteri

2 G. Coor-Achenbach, earliest The Italian representation

of the Coronation of the Virgin, in: The Burlington Magazine, XCIX, 1957, 328-330.
65. Band/

tauld Institute of Art, London 1999/2000ooo. See also Elizabeth G. Miller, The thirteenth century Coronation of the Virgin in the Courtauld Institute Gallery, M.A. thesis, Courtauld Institute of Art, London 1972.

of and CourDepartment Conservation Technology,

paper was terminated 2000 see also Claritas, Das Hauptaltarbild im Dom zu Siena nach i260. Die Rekonstruktion, Lindenau-Museum Altenburg 2001; V. M. Schmidt, Thirteenth century panel paintings from Siena, in: The Burlington Magazine, CXLIII, August 200oo,512-514.

di Gesu Cristo, forthcomingpublication.Since this




2. Attributedto Guido da Siena,Coronationof the Virgin(Detail). Egg tempera,oil on panel,

last quarterof the thirteenthcentury.London, CourtauldInstituteGallery

script he added >dans la maison du Lippi il y a aussi un fragment de 15o x 40 d'un grand pala de Guido da Siena representant au c68t deux anges avec l'&cussonBrandifoglio au centre la Couronnement de la Vierge. Voila un piece tres important qui on pourrait avoir je pense entre 50-6o,ooo livres italiens.<< Lord Lee purchased the painting.4 Coor-Achenbach first emphasised the association between the Coronation of the Virgin and the Christological cycle, which has an original
4 Lord Lee of Fareham'spapers, Letter I4th July 1933, Courtauld Institute of Art Archive. The painting is also referred to in correspondence 3rd August, 17th September,23rd October, 29th December 1933. In the letter of 3rd August, Albrighi says Berenson supports the attribution, but the first correspondence with Lee antedatesBerenson's receipt of a photograph (I7th July

provenance from the Badia Ardenga near Montalcino, although, like Stubblebine and Oertel, she did not believe that they belonged to a single altarpiece.' An argument that attempted to establish a direct connection was proposed by Ziemke who drew attention to the significance of tracings by the antiquarian J. A. Ramboux of Cologne probably made 1833-1I842 (figs. 3-4). In these tracings, the Coronation of the Virgin and the Christological cycle are numbered consecutively suggesting that they may have been in the
1933) so Berenson may not have originated the attribution. 5 J. H. Stubblebine,An altarpieceby Guido da Siena, in: The Art Bulletin, I2, 1959, 260-268. R. Oertel, Friihe Italienische Malerei in Altenburg, Berlin i96i, 60-67. See also J. H. Stubblebine, Guido da Siena, Princeton 1964, 43-60, 81-84.

3. J. H. Ramboux'stracingof the Coronationof the Virgin. a. Kunstinstitut 1833-1842. Frankfurt M., Staidelsches

same place at that time. Ramboux bought three of the scenes, the Nativity, the Presentation in the Temple (Musee du Louvre, Paris), and the Mounting of the Cross (Museum Catharijne Convent, Utrecht), and according to E. Braun, who organised the purchase of another three scenes for the Lindenau-Museum Altenburg, Ramboux bought the picture (das Bild) - implying intact painting, possibly altarpiece - to which the scenes belonged.7 The association between the Coronation of the Virgin and one scene of the Christological cycle, The Mounting of the Cross, was reconsidered in 1979 by Lon Schr6der.8 More recently, Bellosi has followed van Os in proposing that the Coronation of the Virgin belonged to a double-sided altarpiece on the high altar of Siena cathedral that may also have incorporated the Madonna del Voto frag-

6 H. J. Ziemke, Ramboux und die sienesische Kunst, in: StiidelJahrbuch,N.FE2, 1969, 255-300. 7 A. Proksch, Bernard Aug. Freiherr von Lindenau als

burg I899, 74. BarbaraJohn kindly provided this reference and a copy of the text. 8 The Early Sienese Paintings in Holland, ed. by H. W. van Os, J. R. J. van Asperen de Boer, C. E. de JongJanssen,C. Wiethoff, The Hague 1989, 87-90.

AltenEin Kunstfreund. Beitragzu seinerBiographie,

4. J. H. Ramboux's tracing of the Angels from the Coronation of the Virgin. 1833-1842. Frankfurt a.M, Stidelsches Kunstinstitut




5. Schematicdiagramof the campaignof restorationcarriedout afterc. 1859. Astrid Lehner) Only areasof complete loss and subsequentrestorationareshown. (Diagram:

ment.9 In this proposal, a scene from the death and glorification of the Virgin would have been below the Coronation of the Virgin, as it may have been in the Maesta itself and is in the stained glass window by Duccio in the Cathedral. Such an association of scenes became embedded in Siena's ideology after the battle of Montaperti in 126o. The attribution to Guido da Siena proposed in Albrighi's letter has tended to persist, although this portmanteau name hardly signifies a single coherent artistic personality and the Coronation of the Virgin cannot be closely compared in style or quality with the core work, the S. Domenico Madonna, where the name Guido de Senis makes its only appearance in a fourteenth century inscription. Albrighi also reported that the coat of arms belonged to the Brandifoglio family; Ludwin Paardekooper has kindly identified the coat of arms for us as the arms of the Tuti family.Io Several members of the Tuti family were very active in Sienese public life in the sixteenth century, although apparently not earlier. It seems likely that Albrighi was simply improvising in order to achieve a sale, and we should treat his account of the other paintings in the Florentine
9 L. Bellosi, Per un contesto cimabuescosenese:Guido da Siene e il probabileDietisalvi di Spemi, in: Prospettiva, 61, 1991,6-2zo;H. W. van Os, SieneseAltarpiecesz1251460. Form,content, function, Groningeni984, 17-18. io Le Biccherne Tavole Dipinte delle MagistratureSenesi (Secoli XIII-XVIII), ed. by L. Borgia, E. Carli, M. A. Ceppari, U. Morandi, P. Sinibaldi,C. Zarilli, Rome 1984, No. 118, 276-277; No. 123, 286-287, 369-370;

house and the family's villa between Arezzo and Siena with equal scepticism." The Courtauld Coronation of the Virgin has attracted most attention by virtue of its iconography. This was first discussed by Coor-Achenbach, who pointed out that it was the earliest example of the Coronation scene in Italian art, radically innovative in including the text >Veni electa mea et ponam in te thronum coro<< from the Office of the Assumption of the Virgin, and as such providing the model for Jacopo Torriti's mosaic in S.Maria Maggiore,Rome, dated I295.I2 The only other Coronation of the Virgin in thirteenth century Sienese art is Duccio's stained glass window In the early I29o's, Cimabue depicted I287/i288. the Christ and the Virgin enthroned in fresco in the choir of the upper church of S. Francesco, Assisi. The relationship between the schemes by Duccio, Cimabue, and Torriti is unclear, but the Courtauld Coronation of the Virgin can no longer be regarded as having been responsible for introducing the text from the Office of the Assumption or providing a model for Torriti's mosaic. In Rome, this text is already found in use in the twelfth century in the apse mosaic of Christ and the Virgin enthroned in S. Maria in Trastevere.
I Libri dei Leoni, la Nobilta di Siena in eta Medicea ed. by M. Ascheri, Monte dei Paschi, (1557-1737), Siena 1996, 306. We are indebted to Ludwin Paardekooper for his generous help. i i Lord Lee of Fareham'spapers, Letters I4th July, 3rd August 1933 (as note 4). I2 Coor-Achenbach (as note 2). 13 Cross-sections, examination in infra-red reflectograZEITSCHRIFT KUNSTGESCHICHTEBand / 2002 65. FOR

The present examination of the >>Coronation of the Virgin<< has established that the Tuti arms were added over the original mandorla after 1704 and are associated with a reuse of the already fragmentary panel; by 1833-1842 when Ramboux found the painting it was in a badly damaged state. Ramboux's tracings provide an accurate record of the condition of the Courtauld >Coronation of the Virgin<< in 1833- 1842, and the only fixed point against which to calibrate change. Surprisingly this has not been appreciated before, because discussion has been clouded by the received idea that the Coronation of the Virgin is in very good condition. This is not the case and has fundamental implications for the iconography and dating. The extent of the restoration is clearly visible in the x-radiograph, infra-red reflectography, and ultra-violet fluorescence, and corresponds almost precisely with the degree of loss recorded in Ramboux's tracings (fig. 5). The restoration includes the majority of the figure of Christ, his proper left arm and hand with the book and text, the feet of both figures, the entire footstool, and the lower parts of the right hand side of the throne architecture. The iconography, the architecture of the throne, and spatial relationships have all been discussed as indicators of dating and attribution, and it must now be recognised that, being later reconstructions with no guiding or original paint beneath, they cannot be used in this way (fig. 6).j3 Rather than providing a prototype for the Torriti mosaic the Courtauld Coronation of the Virgin in its present state surely depends on it for the text, footstool, and also the Virgin's crown. Little can be said about the original iconography of the Courtauld painting since Christ's left arm may have held a book or have been raised in a gesture. After Duccio's stained glass window Christ tends to be depicted, with greater narrative clarity, placing the
phy and with x-radiography indicated that no original paint survives in these areas.The Virgin'scrown is repaintedover an originalversion that survives. 14 After Ramboux traced the Coronation of the Virgin

6. Attributedto Guido da Siena, Coronationof the Virgin(Detail). London, CourtauldInstituteGallery

crown on the Virgin's head using both hands. The original crown that Ramboux traced, now entirely repainted, was similar to those depicted in the Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew on the Reliquary Shutters (Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena) and in the Adoration of the Magi (LindenauMuseum, Altenburg). The Coronation of the Virgin must have been badly mistreated or long neglected to have suffered such a catastrophic degree of loss, as is recorded in Ramboux's tracing. Between 1833-1842 and the restoration described above still more fragments were lost from the right hand side of the panel.14The restoration is skillful, which is why it has eluded detection, and
still more paint was lost, especially on the right hand side of the throne and coat of arms. In the tracing the right hand throne finial is closer to the centre and not symmetrical with the left finial. This slight displace293

65. Band/ 2002

very distinctive in method. A pale underpaint incorporating machine ground pigments was toned with a dark transparent patination layer that has wrinkled and cracked in a convincing simulation of ageing. It has been suggested that Ramboux himself restored the paintings that he bought. The restoration of the Coronation of the Virgin postdates the manufacture of the pigment Viridian in the I85os'5, and interestingly this could also place the work later than the arrival of all the Christological narrative scenes in private or public collections.'" Considering the association with the Christological cycle, the evidence of a painted frame, discussed further below, strongly suggests that when Ramboux found the Coronation of the Virgin it had already been cut out of its original ensemble, so Braun's catalogue entry must be open to re-interpretation. The same should be said for the argument proposed by Ziemke. Although Ramboux numbered the three tracings of the Coronation of the Virgin and the Christological narrative scenes consecutively, he did so when he assembled his album of tracings on return to Cologne; the group is both preceded and followed by tracings from a single, still intact painting, the St. Peter Dossal.'7 With a clearer understanding of the condition of the Coronation of the Virgin in 1833-1842 it is possible to try to evaluate the physical evidence for its history prior to that date. The Tuti coat of arms have long been recognised as nonoriginal and this assumption was confirmed by
ment could have indicated foreshortening and recession. The seat could have then terminated with a straight vertical line rather than the present diagonal. 15 Viridian, hydrated chromium oxide green, has been identified in a painting of 1840 by J. M. W. Turner, however until 1859, when Guignet patented a method for manufacture,it was extremely expensive.R. Newman, Chromium oxide greens, in: Artists' Pigments, A Handbook of Their History and Characteristics, Vol. 3, ed. by E. W. Fitzhugh, Washington 1997, 273-293. 16 The panels were dispersed in the nineteenth century. Stubblebine 1964 (as note 5), 43-60. Five panels were deposited in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena in 294

pigment analysis which indicated that the arms were painted between 1704 and 1833when 842 Ramboux traced them (fig. 7).18The coat of arms and a blue border all around the present perimeter of the painting, excluding the lost apex, were both painted at the same time, using first a paint layer incorporating prussian blue and then a layer of azurite. Prussian blue was discovered in 1704 and has not been found in use prior to the 1720s.'9 The blue border now only survives in small areas, but it once constituted a new painted >frame<<for the Coronation of the Virgin. This framing band runs across the angels and the mandorla suggesting that by this time the panel had already been cut at that level and the blue border was added in order to make visual sense of the truncated image that had no logical terminus. Where the blue border covered the pink robe of the angel on the left, it remained in place long enough to inhibit fading of the red lake pigment beneath.2o Despite the hypothesis that by the time the Coronation of the Virgin was remodelled for the Tuti family it must have been an independent panel with its current dimensions, it is likely that it was in some way associated with the Christological cycle, because the border of The Flight into Egypt (Lindenau-Museum, Altenburg) displays the same unusual paint sequence: prussian blue beneath a layer of azurite.2 The same sample also revealed that at some stage there was silver leaf over red bole beneath the blue layers.
1848; three purchased for Altenburg in I85o; Ramboux purchased three by 1842. The Annunciation was purchasedby Princeton in 1924 from A. L. Frothingham, who presumably acquired it some time earlier. 17 Ziemke (as note 6). The St.Peter Dossal was at that time in the Church of S. Pietro in Banchi. The numbering of the tracings of the St.Peter Dossal were kindly communicatedby MartinSonnabendfrom the Stdidelsches Kunstinstitut,Frankfurta.M. 18 Pigment analysis and identification was carried out together with Aviva Burnstock and Helen Howard, Courtauld Institute of Art, using polarising light microscopy, cross-sections, and elemental analysis (SEM-EDX). The presence of prussian blue was conZEITSCHRIFT FORKUNSTGESCHICHTE 65. Band / 2002

7. Attributedto Guido da Siena,Coronationof the Virgin(Detail):the coat of armsof the Tuti family Having distinguished the original from the non-original, it is possible to consider what evidence can be recovered about the making of the painting and how this can throw light on its interpretation. The Coronation of the Virgin was undoubtedly part of a gable. This is supported by its composition and comparison with surviving Sienese gables.2 It is a low triangular shape with the tip of the triangle missing and measures 33.7X
firmed by polarising light microscopy and SEM-EDX by Helen Howard. 19 Prussian blue was discovered in I704 and rapidly adopted as an artists' pigment. The earliest identifications are in the i720s in Italy in works by Canaletto 1719-1723. B. H. Berrie, Prussian Blue, in: Artists' Pigments (as note 15), 19g-217. 20 This implies that the colour change occurred in the eighteenth century, although the rate of fading for red lake pigments is greatest in the early stages. For a similar case where the red lake was protected by framing see G. Hedley and C. Villers, Evaluating colour change, intention, interpretation and lighting, in: Measured Opinions, ed. by C. Villers, London 1993, 145-148. Also, D. Saunders, J. Kirby, Light

166.6 cm. It is constructed from two tangentially cut poplar planks, the grain running horizontally. The thickness of the planks varies between 3.0-3.5 cm and the top margin is the original edge of a plank 22.6cm wide. Presumably the joint failed and the top plank, the apex, was lost (fig. 8). Along the original edge there are regularly spaced score marks and cavities drilled for dowels. Two dowels are visible on the x-radiograph and there are fragments of a third behind
induced colour changes in red and yellow lake pigments, in: National Gallery Technical Bulletin, iy, 1994, 178-189. 21 The Flight into Egypt, Lindenau-Museum,Altenburg, cross-section C.S. 7/4. 22 Other Guidoesque gables include Christ Blessing, S. Domenico Siena, the Crucifixion, Yale University Art Gallery and the ruined gable to the Virgin and

del San Child, Galleria PalazzoCommunale, Gimi-

is Too parethe structures. littleinformation available

for this to be conclusive. We are indebted to Mark Aranson for providing us with an x-radiographof the Yale Crucifixionand for answeringmany questions. 295

gnano. See Stubblebine 1964 (as note 5), 42-43, 91, an attemptto com107-109, and Miller (as note i) for


Band/ 2002

8. The reverseof the Coronationof the Virgin

9. The reverseof the Coronationof the Virginin rakinglight

the right hand moulding. The composite panel was roughly levelled after joining and tool marks are clearly visible on the reverse running continuously across the join (fig. 9). It was subsequently cut to the requisite size and the entire structure strengthened by nailing on vertical battens. The reverse was protected by a coating of red of a single vertical batlead paint. The ,shadow<< ten and three nail holes are all that survive. These construction methods were in common use, surviving into the fourteenth century, and from them it can be deduced that the Coronation of the Virgin was once part of a broad horizontal structure, since grain direction always follows the maximum dimension. A tall panel with an upright format would be made from vertically aligned planks as in the case of the S. Domenico Madonna.23 The red lead coating and the batten
23 We are very grateful to Marco Ciatti, Opificio delle Pietre Dure e Laboratori di Restauro, Florence, for providing us with information and advice. The carpentry of the S.Domenico gable is not known. Judging from photographs of the front, vertical lines of damagedo suggest vertically aligned planks. 24 Van Os (as note 8), 88.

on the reverse also make it clear that the Coronation of the Virgin< was not originally part of a double-sided structure. Red lead also covers the back of the three panels, now in Utrecht and Paris, that once belonged to Ramboux.24 It was once again Coor-Achenbach who reasonably suggested using the shape of the mandorla to reconstruct the original dimensions of the panel. This was also discussed in 1972 by Miller.'5 Of the various geometric systems for constructing the shape, the two point method, in which the width of the radius equals the width of the mandorla, was used in the Lenten Hanging attributed to the circle of Guido da Siena (Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena), in Duccio's stained glass window (Siena Cathedral), and in Cimabue's Assuption of the Virgin (S. Francesco, Assisi). A mandorla reconstructed using that two
25 Coor-Achenbach (as note 2); Miller (as note I), 20, 22, 28-33. Other systems for constructing a mandorla use three points, where the radius equals two thirds of the width of the mandorla;five points, where the radius equals five eighths of the width of the mandorla. There is no internal evidence for whether a half or a full mandorlamight have been painted originally.

of io. Schematicreconstruction the originalpanelusing a two point geometricsystemto drawthe mandorla. Astrid Lehner) (Diagram:

apex 1 . The Coronationof the Virginas displayeduntil the early i980s with a reconstructed and surrounding frame

point method would require a panel with a maximum width of 196cm and sloping sides rising at an angle of 37.50 to accommodate it (fig. Io). This dimension happens to be the same as that of the S. Domenico gable Christ Blessing, and the angle of inclination would be the same as that of the Yale Crucifixion and the S. Domenico gable. The height of the panel and the positioning of the roll mouldings would then be governed by the harmonious ratio of the Golden Section which was commonly used to guide altarpiece construction

and architecture. Only the moulding on the left is original and the simple profile is comparable with the mouldings of Polyptych No. 7, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena which is universally attributed to Guido. It must be all that remains of a probably trefoil arch that fitted comfortably within the mandorla. The painting was displayed with a reconstructed apex and arch until the early I980s (fig. 1i). The trefoil arch is often used in paintings from the Guido da Siena group after 1270, for example Polyptych No.7, the Galli297

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Dunn Virgin and Child and the St. Peter Dossal (Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena). Returning to the process of painting, unfortunately, the study of materials and technique cannot provide a blue-print for attribution and the core works attributed to Guido da Siena have yet to be studied. However, we are able to situate the Coronation of the Virgin within the broad framework of thirteenth century practice that has now been established by colleagues at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure e Laboratori di Restauro, Florence.26In contrast to the methods codified at the beginning of the fourteenth century by Cennini, these studies suggest a style of painting that sought to exploit richly varied, lustrous surface finishes based on the superimposition of transparent or translucent materials, and juxtaposed glass, gilding, and glazes. Distinctive craft practices in the preparation of the panel ground and gilding have been identified. The front of the wooden panel was prepared first with strips of parchment to reinforce the joins and to ensure that movement was not transmitted in the form of cracking to the front and then with a continuous covering of linen cloth. The linen has a compact plain weave (23 X 21 yarns per cm2) and wraps around the original wooden moulding. In the x-radiograph the weave pattern undulates suggesting that the linen was soaked in glue size and laid over the panel while still wet. This has also been observed in the Yale Crucifixion.27In the thirteenth century, the use of parchment in strips or larger sheets was quite common and it has been found on the Sarzana Crucifix, 1138, and the dossal from S.Panzano, attributed to Meliore, 12201275.28 The ground is gypsum bound with animal glue.
26 M. Ciatti, Aspects of the artistic technique in Tuscan

The plan for the composition was incised into the ground. The incisions define the contours and some more detailed interior features, such as drapery folds, but not facial features. In the S. Panzano dossal, by contrast, every single detail is fully incised.29 Presumably, the incisions themselves must have followed a preliminary drawing, rudimentary or developed, but no trace of such a drawing was definitely identified on the Coronation of the Virgin. By the fourteenth century it had become more common to reinforce the preliminary drawing in black paint or ink and reduce the use of incised lines, most often only lightly scoring the divisions between areas to be painted and those to be gilded. Condition has led to confusion about the decorative techniques used in the Coronation of the Virgin. The original gilding, which is in poor condition, is burnished gold leaf over a red bole, as in other contemporary works, although earlier paintings such as the Sarzana Crucifix do not employ a red bole layer and Vasari attributed its introduction to his fellow townsman, Margaritone d'Arezzo. The circumferences of the haloes were inscribed using a compass, the point of which can be detected at the outer corner of Christ's left eye and the outer corner of the Virgin's right eye. These circumferences were stamped with a cinq-foil punch, 3 mm in diameter, and small holes indicate that ornaments, probably glass jewels, were pinned on at regular intervals. On Christ's halo, of which only the lower left portion is intact, there are three pin holes, and on Mary's halo two (fig. 12). Finally, a simple dot punch was used to define the nimbus of Christ's halo. The asterisk and six-foil punch are not original. The angels' haloes are filled in with delicate, curling plant-like scrollwork,
Leolino a Panzano, in: OPD Restauro, 2, 1990, I862I I; M. Ciatti, Some Observations on Panel Painting Technique in Tuscany from the Twelfth to the Thirteenth Century, in: Painting Techniques, History, Materialsand Studio Practice,Proceedings of the I. I. C. Congress, Dublin 1998, 1-4. 27 These observations are based on the x-radiograph kindly copied for us by Mark Aranson. A comparison between the gables attributedto the circle of GuiZEITSCHRIFT KUNSTGESCHICHTE Band / 2002 FOR 65.

painting from XII to XIII century,in: Das Aschaffenburger Tafelbild. Studien zur Tafelmalerei des 13.Jahrhunderts, Arbeitsheft des Bayerischen Landesamtes fiir Denkmalpflege, 89, Miinchen 1997, 360-387; B. Bellucci, C. Castelli, F. C. Passeri, M. Ciatti, C. Giovannini, M. Parri,P. Petreone, C. Rossi Scarzanella,A. Santacesaria,Tecniche Pittoriche del XIII secolo: II Dossale di Meliore di Jacopo in San


inscribed freehand. The theory that the decoration of burnished gilding evolved gradually from freehand pattern to increasingly complex punched designs has been challenged by Skaug.3?Paintings from the circle of Guido da Siena seem to employ both types of decoration and to alternate between the different methods. Of course, they are not necessarily by a single painter. What appears to be a similar cinq-foil punch has been identified by Skaug on the Virgin and Child in the Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence. Cinq-foil punches have also been noted on the interior of the Gallerani Reliquary Shutters (Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena), the Galli-Dunn Virgin and Child (Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena), and the Madonna del Voto in Siena Cathedral, where two different sizes of cinq-foil punch are used.31 It has not been possible to compare the dimensions with precision. The haloes of the figures in the Reliquary Shutters combine punch work with freehand inscribed patterns, while those of the Christological cycle panels are not decorated at all, arguably for reasons of scale. During the thirteenth century the system for modelling drapery forms depended on superimposing light or dark passages over a uniform base colour. There was no tonal gradation, no blending, and the abundant use of mordant gilding, often substituting for highlights, contributed to the unnaturalness of the approach. It was in contrast to this that the tonal and blended modelling of the fourteenth century evolved, with the associated use of very finely hatched brushwork. The original appearance of the Coronation of the Virgin relied on light reflected from gold and jewels and resonant combinations of saturated colours. The webs of mordant gilding added lustre. In the Coronation of the Virgin the palette is vermilion,
ion has been thinned and cradled, no dowels are visible in the x-radiograph,the planks run horizontally. 28 Bellucci (as note26), i89. 29 Ibid, 9Ix-195; Ciatti I997 (as note26), 370. Coppo di Marcoveldo'sS. Maria MaggioreMadonna and Madonna del Casaleshow a degreeof incision that is comparablewith the Coronationof the Virgin.The Sarzana Crucifixhas no incisions,only a charcoalsketch.

12. Attributedto Guido da Siena, the Coronationof the Virgin(Detail). Mary'shalo

red lake on a calcium base, azurite in various grades, ultramarine, verdigris, bright green earth, ochres, lead white and charcoal and bone black. Ultramarine is not used for the principal figures and was found only in the blue of the angels' feathers. The painter's approach can be appreciated in the handling of the robes and mantles of Christ and the Virgin, which depend on varying, but symmetrically opposed combinations of azurite, red lake and white. These three pigments are used together for the Virgin's robe and in a more saturated combination without white for

do da Sienawould be instructive. YaleCrucifix- 30 E. Skaug, Punchmarksfrom Giotto to Fra Angelico. The

Vol. I, Oslo 1994, 72-75. We are very grateful to Erling Skaugfor discussing this with us. 31 Miller (as note 1), I2-I5, Appendix II. The punch marks on the Virgin and Child, Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence reproduced by Skaug (as note 30), fig. 95c, io6, include a cinq-foil punch, 3 mm in diameter.


Christ's over-mantle; reversing the relationship, the Virgin's over-mantle is predominantly azurite, this time glazed rather than mixed with red lake, while Christ's robe is azurite and white without red lake. Since the extent of the mordant gilding precluded pale highlights, the overall tonality is sombre. In the lateral angels, glazelike effects are achieved by spreading translucent paint over opaque underlayers, on the right an intense green earth over green earth and lead white, and, on the left, red lake over vermilion and white. Red lake is used in this way throughout the painting, shading the Virgin's blue robe, the vermilion cloth of honour and the ochres of the throne architecture. The binding medium has been identified as predominantly egg tempera, with oil,32a partially heat-bodied linseed oil possibly with a trace of pine resin, used in the green lining of the Virgin's mantle. These results can be compared with the results from the Crucifix attributed to the Master of S. Francesco in the National Gallery, London, where a green glaze was also found to combine oil and resin with the pigment verdigris.33This once transparent, brightly coloured glaze would have contributed to the overall richness of effect. Linseed oil could be prepared for use by heating in order to enhance drying, increase transparency and achieve a level glossy surface; an addition of resin could improve this result. The choice of medium demonstrates a well developed understanding of the medium. The binding medium for the mordant was not analysed although it is likely to be oil. The pigments in the mordant are lead white, possibly to accelerate drying, and ochre to add bulk and a yellowish colour.34As in the case of all mordants examined by the National Gallery, London for their exhibition >Italian
32 A sample from the white on the back of the throne was examined using Fourier transform infra red microscopy and indicated egg tempera; the bluegreen paint adjacent was also analysed as containing egg tempera. The pigments present were lead white and green earth. All medium analysis was carriedout by Catherine Higgitt and Raymond White at the National Gallery, London and we are indebted to them for their generous assistance.The sample from

Painting before 1400<<,in cross-section the mordant lies over an insubstantial layer that fluoresces in ultra violet light. Its precise purpose is unexplained. Comparing the framework established by research in Florence, one can say that the painting technique of the Courtauld Coronation of the Virgin is typical for the late thirteenth century. Comparison with the technique of painting in the Lindenau-Museum panels reveals generic similarities and some differences.35The two most significant differences between the Courtauld panel and those in the Lindenau-Museum are in the composition of the mordant and the purple colours. The mordant used to adhere the gold leaf in the Lindenau-Museum panels probably contains the same pigments, lead white and ochres, as the Coronation of the Virgin in different proportions, but the general colour effect is distinctly whiteish rather than yellow and one sample contained azurite as well.36In general and hardly surprisingly, the palette used in all these paintings is almost the same, however in the Lindenau-Museum panels the draperies are less saturated in colour and rely less on translucent effects, but this could be expected in subsidiary figures where the lustre of mordant gilding is substituted by pale-toned highlights. In the Lindenau-Museum panels it is also notable to find ultramarine being employed in mixtures to create the mauve tones of the Virgin's dress, Christ's loincloth and the young king's cloak. This contrasts with the use of azurite to create mauve in the robes of Christ and the Virgin in the Courtauld painting.37 Since in both cases of difference one could be dealing with standard workshop recipes for routine procedures, preparing a mordant and a purthe green lining was analysed using Gas Chromatography linked to Mass Spectrometry,as well as Fourier transform infra red microscopy. The FTIR microscopy revealed bonds indicative of a copperresin acid carboxylateinteraction. 33 D. Bomford, J. Dunkerton, D. Gordon, A. Roy, J. Kirby, Art in the Making. Italian Painting before 1400, National Gallery,London i99o, 6I-63. 34 Ibid, 46.

ple colour, the association should be considered to remain open to interpretation until there is rather more empirical evidence for the assessment of workshop practices and the significance of such discrepancies. When Albrighi sold the painting to Lord Lee it was in the condition in which it is now. It was tempting, at first, to assign the restoration to this ambitious amateur dealer whom Lee described as >a young and enterprising Italian >runner< with whom I have more than once had dealing and in whose nose and flair I had considerable confidence<.38 Albrighi also sold Lee a Holy Family attributed to Raphael, now recognised as a copy,39 and a Virgin and Child attributed to Botticelli, now known to be the work of the Sienese forger, Umberto Giunti.40 In fact, at least one further distinctive campaign of restoration can be identified following the major repainting of the figure of Christ which is, therefore, likely to have been considerably earlier. Albrighi appreciated Lord Lee's character and his correspondence brims with an atmosphere of discovery and opportunity that clearly appealed to Lord Lee's conviction, that a collection should reflect the independent judgement of its owner rather than professional guidance. Albrighi first mentioned the Coronation of the Virgin in a letter of 14th July 1933; a week later, on 21st July, Lord Lee requested a photograph, and on 3rd August Albrighi wrote to finalise the purchase asking Lord Lee to decide quickly since >l'administrateur part pour le mer le 12 aout<<. Berenson considered it a museum piece, M. Stoclk (sic.) was interested, he hoped to export it via Naples >>oi est facile<<.He asked Lord Lee to cable the coded message >Brandifoglio<< by way of confirmation to his office in Milan. Perhaps
35 The full results for all samplesare discussed in Lehner (as note I). 36 The Adoration of the Magi, Lindenau-Museum, Altenburg,cross-section C.S. 6/13 also 6/22, 6/2 5. 37 Bomford (as note 33), 40. The presence of ultramarine in these samples was identified by elemental analysis (SEM-EDX) by Aviva Burnstock. 38 Viscount Lee of Fareham, A Good Innings, Vol.3, London 1940, i370; W. G. Constable, Italian paintZEITSCHRIFT 65. FiR KUNSTGESCHICHTE Band/ 2002

Lee's reply arrived after the official had left for his summer holiday, because a customs stamp on the reverse of the panel two weeks later, I8th August 1933, indicates that in the event Albrighi moved the painting via Chiasso through Switzerland as he had done the so-called Raphael and Botticelli. Throughout 1934 Albrighi continued his efforts to sell Lord Lee paintings and his correspondence mentions works by Barnaba da Modena, Coppo di Marcovaldo, Bernardo Daddi, Benvenuto di Giovanni, Cavallini, Giovanni Bellini, Giunta Pisano, Giovanni di Paolo, Piero della Francesca, Francesco di Giorgio, Rembrandt, and Holbein. On 25th July i934, Lord Lee told Albrighi, that >under the present circumstances<< he had neither the funds nor space for further additions to his collection.4' In many ways the trade in early Italian paintings such as the Coronation of the Virgin in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was similar to the illicit trade in cultural material today. Paintings were removed from their traditional context of worship or care and sold to connoisseur collectors who valued above all their aesthetic content. Without a context the Coronation of the Virgin has been stripped of meaning and it has not been possible to locate it coherently within a historical narrative. Restoration made the painting more marketable, but further obscured understanding. One approach to the interpretation of a painting such as this might have been to remove all non-original materials and to display it as an honest fragment. To some extent this principle was applied to the framing when the reconstructed apex and gold framing bands were removed. In the I960s and 1970s this certainly would have been the favoured resolution, and Offner, for example, encapsulated this
ings in the Lee Collection, in: International Studio, February 1930, 21-26. 39 Viscount Lee of Fareham,A New Version of Raphael's >Holy Family with the Lamb<<,in: The Burlington Magazine, LXIV, 1934, 3-I19 40 Fake? The Art of Deception, ed. by M. Jones, British Museum, London 199o, No. 40, 34-45. G. Mazzoni, Umberto Giunti >>Falsarioin Calcinaccio<< ed oltre. 41 Lord Lee of Fareham's papers (as note 4). 301

viewpoint as follows: >>Awork of art can be an organic whole only so long as it is the product of a single personality. Any restoration, therefore, that introduces paint or shape within its boundaries, even if the restoration be limited to the missing portions alone, must prove intolerable ... any addition whatever introduces irrelevant matter and serves to instil a false impression in anyone who sees the restored work<.42The current examination has come to the opposite conclusion, original has been distinguished from nonoriginal, but both have been retained. Phrasing this decision in the terms proposed by Cesare Brandi, we could say that in balancing the aesthetic aspect and the historic aspect of the Coronation of the Virgin we have favoured the significance of the historic aspect. Recent analysis of residues in bronze bowls from the mid-eighth century B.C., the time of the legendary King Midas, revealed the traces of a great funerary feast of spiced mutton or goat washed down with a strongly brewed beer and wine.43 If adhering soil had been washed off in the interests of recovering the aesthetic form and qualities of the pot, this information would have been lost. In the same way, we have sought to investigate and understand the materials added to the Coronation of the Virgin as thoroughly as the original
42 Philip Hendy, The Aesthetic and Historical Aspects of the Presentation of Damaged Pictures, in: Studies in WesternArt, Acts of the Twentieth International

materials; and through documenting the changing appearance of the painting we may ultimately be able to recover part of the context that it has lost. We can now state, for example, that the Tuti arms were added between 1704 and 1833-1842, so the activities of the family during the eighteenth century should be the focus of our attention. It is an attempt to use material knowledge to connect the present with the past. Material knowledge also assists understanding of the aesthetic content, because it can be difficult to interpret the original appearanceof materials that have aged and changed with time. The decision not to undertake a comprehensive restoration and conservation treatment is not a minimal or a neutral one, it is exactly as positively interpretative as the decision to remove all non-original material would have been. For the time being the painting will appear one way and not another. Without computer simulation, a virtual restoration, we shall not be able fully to imagine an alternative appearance; however, material evidence may make imagining more plausible and offer access to the imaginations of a wider public. We have tried to avoid fragmenting the Coronation of the Virgin still further.

Congress of the History of Art, vol.41, Princeton 1963, 137-185, R. Offner I17. 43 Nature, December 1999, 23-30.

Photo credit: Photographs reproduced courtesy of the Conservation and Technology Department of the Courtauld Institute of Art, London; courtesy of the Stidelsches Kunstinstitut,Frankfurta.M.

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