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Hans Memling
Saint Veronica [obverse]; Chalice of Saint John the Evangelist [reverse]

c. 1470/1475
oil on panel
painted surface: 30.3 x 22.8 cm (11 15/16 x 9 in)
Probably Bernardo Bembo, Venice or Verona [d. 1519]. Probably his son, Cardinal Pietro Bembo [1470-1547], Padua and Rome. [1] Nicolai Nikitich Demidov, Prince of San Donato [1773-1828], near Florence; [2] his son, Anatoly Nikolaievich Demidov, Prince of San Donato [1812-1870], near Florence; (his sale, Paris, 3 March 1870, no. 204, repro., etching by Rajou). Private collection, Italy, until c. 1928. [3] (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin). (Paul Cassirer, Berlin). [4] Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza [1875-1947], Schloss Rohoncz, Hungary, and later, Villa Favorita, Lugano-Castagnola, Switzerland, by 1930; [5] on consignment 1950 with (M. Knoedler & Co., New York); purchased 1951 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; [6] gift 1952 by exchange to NGA. [1] Letter of 31 August 1502 from Carlo Bembo, son of Bernardo, to Isabella d'Este, accompanying a loan of paintings to her in Mantua. The letter was published by Vittorio Cian, "Pietro Bembo e Isabella d'Este Gonzaga. Note e documenti," Giornale storico della letteratura italiana 9 (1887), 85-86. Bernardo Bembo was at that time away from Venice on a diplomatic mission. Carlo Bembo died in 1503. For the Bembo family see Dizionario biografico degli italiani (Rome, 1966), 8: 103-109 and 133-151. Approximately thirty years later (after Bernardo's death), Marcantonio Michiel's notes on what seems to be this diptych name the owner as the poet Pietro Bembo, another son of Bernardo: "The little painting with two wings of Saint John the Baptist clothed, with a lamb that sits in a landscape on one side, and Our Lady with the little Child on the other [side] in another landscape, by the hand of Hans Memling, year 1470, this being true." D. Jacopo Morelli, Notizia d'opere di disegno (Bassano, 1800), 17, and Theodor von Frimmel, Der Anonimo Morelliano (Quellenschriften für Kunstgeschichte und Kunsttechnik) N.F. I (Vienna, 1896), 86. Pietro Bembo's paintings were then in Padua. Jennifer Fletcher, "Marcantonio Michiel: his friends and collection," Burlington Magazine 123 (1981), 461 dates Michiel's notice of Pietro Bembo's collection in the 1520's or early 1530's. [2] According to the catalogue of the Demidov sale, 3 March 1870, no. 204. [3] According to Max J. Friedländer, Die altniederländishe Malerei, 14 vols. (Berlin and Leiden, 1928), 6: 125. [4] According to Friedländer, in Unknown Masterpieces in Public and Private Collections, ed. by W.R. Valentiner, (London, 1930), unpaginated, no. 27. [The list of references published in the NGA systematic catalogue entry erroneously cites no. 37 rather than no. 27.] [5] According to the exhibition catalogue, Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz, Munich, Neue Pinakothek, 1930, no. 222. [6] Knoedler commission book no. 4, p. 143, no. CA 3725 and sales book no. 16, p. 310, M. Knoedler & Co. Records, Getty Research Institute (copies NGA curatorial files).
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