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Ambrogio Bergognone
Christ Risen from the Tomb

c. 1490
oil on panel
114.5 x 61.2 cm (45 1/16 x 24 1/8 in)
Art market, Italy; exported from Milan probably between 1792 and 1835 and in any case not later than 1859-1860; [1] Arthur L. Nicholson, London, by 1915; [2] (Arthur U. Newton Galleries, New York), by 1936; [3] purchased April 1945 by the Samuel H. Kress Collection, New York; [4] gift 1952 to NGA. [1] Into one of the vertical members of the painting's cradle a piece of wood with two identical seals is inset. This was obviously from the back of the panel before it was thinned. The seals are decorated with the Austrian imperial eagle and bear a fragmentary inscription of which the words "per l'esportazione" can be read. This type of seal was used by the exportation office of the Accademia di Brera in Milan on the paintings to be exported during the time of Francis I of Austria (1792-1835). Similar seals are visible on the back of a number of early Italian panel paintings; among others are Piero della Francesca's St. John the Evangelist in the Frick Collection in New York and the Saint Augustine by the same artist in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga in Lisbon (see Andrea Di Lorenzo, "Il politico agostiniano di Piero della Francesca: Dispersione, collezionismo, restauri, recostruzione," Il Polittico Agostiniano di Piero della Francesca. Quaderni di Studi e Restauri del Museo Poldo Pezzoli 2, Milan, 1996: 17, 39 notes 32-34 and 52, repro. 105). According to Di Lorenzo (letter of 26 April 2000), the Accademia probably stopped using the seal in 1848, when Ferdinand I of Austria, successor of Francis I (who used the same symbol) abdicated. In any case, the seal was not used after 1859-1860, when Austrian dominion in Milan ended. [2] See Bernard Berenson's letter dated 26 June 1915, to Arthur L. Nicholson (copy in NGA curatorial files), in which the painting is mentioned. [3] The painting was shown at the Old Masters' Exhibition at the Arthur U. Newton Galleries in October 1936 and mentioned in the exhibition reviews published in the New York Times (7 and 11 October) and in the New York American (17 October) of the same year. The fact that Berenson did not list the painting in his Italian Pictures of the Renaissance, Oxford, 1932, suggests that by 1932 it was already on the art market. [4] The bill of sale from the Arthur U. Newton Galleries to the Kress Foundation is dated 24 April 1945 and marked paid April 27 (copy in NGA curatorial files).
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