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The Crucifixion with Saint Jerome and Saint Francis

c. 1445/1450
tempera on poplar panel
61.5 x 49.1 cm (24 3/16 x 19 5/16 in)
Melzi collection, Milan. [1] (Robert Langton Douglas [1864-1951], London and Dublin); [2] sold to (Count Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi, Rome); sold July 1932 to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; [3] gift 1939 to NGA. [1] The NGA Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture, Washington, D.C., 1941, mentions the Melzi collection, Milan, which is the provenance information given in the bill of sale to the Kress Foundation. Fern Rusk Shapley, in Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Italian Schools, XIII-XV Century, London, 1966: 110, and Catalogue of the Italian Paintings, 2 vols., Washington, D.C., 1979: 1:364, refers to it as the collection of the Duchessa Melzi d'Eril in Milan, whose famous collection is known to have contained mostly Lombard paintings and only one Tuscan work, a tondo attributed to Ghirlandaio (see Guido Carotti, Capi d'arte appartenenti a S.E. la Duchessa Josephine Melzi d'Eril Barbo, Bergamo, 1901: 32, and Giulio Melzi d'Eril, La Galleria Melzi e il collezionismo milanese del tardo Settecento, Milan, 1973). There did exist in Milan, however, another collection with the same name, albeit less well-known--that of the lawyer Gennaro Melzi, who began to collect in the early years of this century; a part of this collection was placed at auction in 1928 (see La raccolta Melzi, Galleria Pesaro, Milan, 19-23 March 1928). The sale catalogue does not list the Gallery's painting, which could have been purchased privately either before or after the auction. [2] See the letter of 1 May 1941 from Douglas to Edward Fowles of Duveen Brothers, in which Douglas writes: "I sold this picture to Count Contini." (Duveen Brothers Records, accession number 960015, Research Library, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles: Series II.I, Collectors' files, reel 299, box 244, folder 3, copy in NGA curatorial files.) [3] The bill of sale for a polychrome wooden statue, two vases, a green velvet cope, a book of Piazzetta drawings, and ten paintings, including the Pesellino, which is titled Crucifixion and Two Saints, is dated 29 July 1932 (copy in NGA curatorial files).
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