FUAM - Kress Collection Catalogue

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The Samuel H. Kress Collection at the Fairfield University Art Museum


Table of Contents Director’s Foreword...............................................................................................................................3 Introduction.........................................................................................................................................4 Catalogue of the Collection.......................................................................................................................6 Bibliography....................................................................................................................................... 28 Glossary............................................................................................................................................ 31 Map................................................................................................................................................. 32

This catalog was prepared by Sarah Cantor, PhD, Kress Interpretive Fellow 2018-19, and Michelle DiMarzo, PhD, Curator of Education and Academic Engagement at the Fairfield University Art Museum Generous support for the publication was provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation 2

Director’s Foreword


t gives me great pleasure to present this new catalogue of the Kress Collection at Fairfield University. Having had the honor of being part of the Fairfield University Art Museum since its inception, I can attest that our strong relationship with the Samuel H. Kress Foundation predates the museum’s founding. Since the museum opened its doors in the fall of 2010 the Foundation has generously supported numerous initiatives relating to our Kress paintings, as well as other museum programs. Thanks to a Kress Interpretive Fellowship during the 2018-2019 academic year, Sarah Cantor, PhD, joined our team and worked to properly update the catalogue of the collection – a project which was last tackled in 2004. At that time, these paintings had just arrived on campus and there was no museum, so the undergraduate students who wrote the guide could only study them in a small room in the University library. This revised and expanded catalogue incorporates recent scholarly discoveries, corrects attributions, and incorporates recent scholarly discoveries as well as new information uncovered during conservation. We are extremely grateful to the Kress Foundation for providing us with the resources to create this publication which incorporates the Kress-funded scholarly work of Jill Deupi, PhD, (founding Fairfield University Art Museum director and chief curator), new work by Sarah Cantor, PhD, as well as the expertise of the museum’s Curator of Education and Academic Engagement Michelle DiMarzo, PhD. It has been my honor to work with all of them, and to see this project to fruition. We hope this guide will give our museum visitors a new lens through which to view and appreciate these ten works, which helped to spark the creation of a museum at Fairfield University. Carey Mack Weber Frank and Clara Meditz Executive Director


Introduction to the Samuel H. Kress Collection at the Fairfield University Art Museum


he ten paintings discussed in this guide formed the core of the museum’s permanent collection when it opened in 2010. The paintings, mostly Italian in origin, range in date from the mid-14th to late 18th centuries. They were once owned by Samuel H. Kress (1863-1955) (Fig. 1), one of the most important American philanthropists and art collectors. Born in a small town in Pennsylvania, Kress began his career as a schoolteacher and then opened his first “five-and-dime” store in Memphis, Tennessee in 1896.1 S. H. Kress & Co. was a massive success, and by the 1920s, there were more than two hundred locations across the country. Kress established his company’s headquarters in New York City and bought an apartment on Fifth Avenue (Fig. 2). He also began collecting art, and ultimately amassed more than 3,000 European paintings and sculptures.

Fig. 1 Leopold Seyffert, Samuel Henry Kress, 1953. Oil on canvas. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, Samuel H. Kress Collection (1953.2.3) Image courtesy of National Gallery of Art Image Collections

The Samuel H. Kress Foundation was established in 1929 with Kress’s brothers, Claude and Rush, in order to purchase art and eventually, to found a museum.2 Kress worked with several scholars and art dealers for his acquisitions, but his primary source was dealer Count Alessandro Contini Bonacossi (1878-1955).3 Kress was interested not only in major Italian Renaissance masters like Raphael and Titian, but in acquiring the full spectrum of artistic production in Europe from the 13th to 19th centuries. As the connoisseur and frequent Kress advisor Bernard Berenson observed, “There are two types of collections: those like Widener, Gardner, Frick, or Bache consisting of masterpieces only and those like the Johnson collection in Philadelphia constituting a historical series. [The] Kress collection combines both, satisfying students as well as amateurs. Few Italian painters between 1300 and 1600 are missing and the greatest are represented by highly characteristic examples in excellent condition.” 4

Kress was also deeply interested in bringing his art to the American public. Between 1932 and 1935, during the height of the Great Depression, the Kress Foundation sponsored a traveling exhibition of selected paintings.5 Stopping in cities and towns that were home to Kress stores, this exhibition allowed Americans to see high-quality Italian paintings in their local museums, schools, and other civic buildings. Kress also donated several works to smaller museums during the tour. Rather than creating his own museum in New York City after the exhibition, as he had originally planned, Kress instead became one of the primary benefactors of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., which was established in

For a general biography of Samuel H. Kress, see Marilyn Perry, “Five-and-dime for Millions: The Samuel H. Kress Collection,” Apollo 133, no. 349 (1991): 157-60 and John Walker, Self-Portrait with Donors: Confessions of an Art Collector (Boston: Little and Brown, 1974), 133-53. 2 Perry, “Five-and-dime for Millions,” 157. 3 A recent dissertation by Fulvia Zaninelli, “The Art Market and Cultural Philanthropy in the Formation of American Museums,” (PhD diss., The University of Edinburgh, 2018) discusses Contini Bonacossi’s background and role in the establishment of American collections. Contini Bonacossi was a fascinating character who began as a stamp collector and rose to prominence under Benito Mussolini. By the end of his career, he had worked with some of the most important collectors and dealers across Europe and the United States. Most of the paintings now at Fairfield were sold by Contini Bonacossi. 4 National Gallery of Art Press Release, 1939. 5 Perry, “Five-and-dime for Millions,” 157-58. 1


1939.6 The Kress Foundation donated more than 375 paintings and 18 pieces of sculpture as an initial gift to the National Gallery. Kress himself suffered a stroke a few years after the opening, and Rush Kress assumed control of the Foundation. He continued acquiring art for the Kress Collection and was responsible for the decision to develop a program to distribute works across the country, so that his brother’s work could be shared with a wide audience.7 Beginning in the 1950s, the Kress Foundation donated paintings and sculptures to regional museums and colleges across the country. This work continued into the 1960s. In 1962, the ten paintings discussed here were gifted by the Kress Foundation to the Museum of Art, Science, and Industry (MASCI) in Bridgeport, Connecticut.8 Established in the early 1960s, MASCI was an essential part of what was then a leading industrial city, and actively collected works of art. In the 1990s, as the city of Bridgeport faced economic difficulty, the board of trustees decided to transform MASCI into a science-focused institution.9 The majority of the art collection was sold at auction, but Fairfield University requested that the paintings from the Kress Collection be transferred to the school.10 With this transfer in 2003, Fairfield University began working toward the creation of an academic art museum. The Fairfield University Art Museum opened to the public in October of 2010. Its ten Kress paintings allow students and visitors to view and study works of art produced from the Renaissance to the Baroque periods, in continuation of Samuel H. Kress’ vision.

Fig. 2 Samuel H. Kress Residence. Photograph: Warren and Wetmore, 1925. Image courtesy of National Gallery of Art Image Collections

For more on Kress’s involvement, see Perry, “Five-and-dime for Millions,” 158-59 and Walker, Self-Portrait with Donors, 137-39. Walker was the first chief curator of the National Gallery and worked closely with Kress to select works that would be donated. 7 Perry, “Five-and-dime for Millions,” 160. 8 “10 Paintings Given to Local Museum,” The Bridgeport Post, October 15, 1962. The paintings were first given by the Kress Foundation to the University of Bridgeport and then transferred to MASCI when it opened. 9 The history of the museum is based on an interview with Philip Eliasoph, professor of art history at Fairfield University on April 24, 2019, who was on the board of trustees at MASCI. 10 Eliasoph, interview with the author, April 24, 2019. 6






Anonymous Assistants of Bartolommeo Bulgarini (Italian, active 1337-1378) and Niccolò di Segna (Italian, active 1331-1348) St. Anthony Abbot and St. Andrew, K1224A and K1224B, ca. 1340-1350 Tempera and tooled gold on panel Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation via the Discovery Museum, Bridgeport (2009.01.01 and 2009.01.02)


n each panel, a half-length male saint appears against a gilded pointed arch edged in silver. The dark green spandrels flanking the arch are decorated with griffins on the St. Andrew and with tri-lobed knots on the St. Anthony Abbot. Despite their similarities in size and composition, these two panels were likely the work of more than one artist, and may have originally formed part of two separate polyptychs. St. Anthony Abbot was an Egyptian Christian monk from the 3rd-4th century. Known as one of the “Desert Fathers,” he practiced an extreme form of asceticism by living alone in the wilderness. He is shown wearing a monastic habit and leaning on a staff in the shape of a t-shaped cross, while a string of prayer beads or a length of rope hangs from his belt (a rope might be a reference to the saint’s frequently-depicted companion, a pig – a variety of stories and traditions linked St. Anthony with pigs). St. Andrew is shown holding a book and a cross turned sideways. One of Christ’s apostles, Andrew was believed to have been crucified on a cross turned sideways; this was his own request, as he did not consider himself worthy to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus Christ. Paintings of this type were produced by applying a layer of gesso to a wood panel in order to create a smooth surface on which the contours of the design could be incised. Both of these paintings show evidence of underdrawing with a liquid medium, visible to the naked eye on St. Anthony’s cloak. Using tempera paint, the artist created the figure of each saint with quick, parallel hatching strokes. In certain places, the upper layers of paint have worn away, revealing such details as an earlier position of St. Andrew’s hand. A reddish Fig. 1 Ugolino di Nerio, Virgin and Child with Saints, c. 1320. Tempera and gold on wood panel. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum clay called bole was applied of Art, Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund 1961.40 (CC0) to the areas of the painting that would be gilded (this, too, is visible to the eye in places where the surface of the gold has been damaged). Gilt silver was applied around the edges of the pointed arch and on the surrounding spandrels. A copper-resinate green paint was applied over the silver in the spandrels; originally, this would have produced a rich, enamel-like finish, but the pigment has oxidized and now appears darker. Both the silver and gold were further decorated with punch marks, creating a variegated surface that would catch the light of candles inside a church. Both paintings are in a fairly good state of conservation, and are housed in frames that likely date to the 19th century. The treatment of the figures in the Fairfield University Art Museum paintings shows evidence of the hands of multiple artists. For example, the drapery surrounding St. Andrew is more linear, with the artist carefully outlining and highlighting each fold, while St. Anthony’s cloak is solid, hanging over his body and delicately highlighted to indicate the form beneath. They were likely painted by artists affiliated with the workshops of Bartolommeo Bulgarini and Niccolò di Segna, the two most important Sienese painters in the mid-14th century. Bulgarini and di Segna were influenced in their turn by Pietro Lorenzetti (active 1306-45), who, along with his brother Ambrogio (active 1317-48), helped introduce spatial settings with perspective and more three-dimensional figures into Sienese painting.


Six other panels of similar size and shape and featuring half-length male saints were published by scholar Federico Zeri in 1967 as the work of di Segna.11 Panel paintings of this type typically formed part of a polyptych, often framing a larger, central panel featuring the Madonna and Child, as in the slightly earlier example in Fig. 1. A distinction in the decorations on the spandrels suggests that all eight panels did not originally belong to a single polyptych, however. Four of the panels published by Zeri feature mythical beasts similar to the griffins on the St. Andrew, while the other two panels instead feature a tri-lobed motif similar to what appears on the St. Anthony Abbot.12 The shared motifs suggest that these eight works may have come from two separate polyptychs that were created by the same Sienese workshop, and which were later dismembered for resale on the art market.13 In stylistic terms, the eight panel paintings show the influence of both di Segna and Bulgarini. Scholar Judith Steinhoff has argued that in the wake of the plague that struck Siena in 1348 and the accompanying decline in artistic patronage, artists were forced to collaborate on commissions, sharing their workshop space and tools, as well as ideas and stylistic innovations.14 Bulgarini and di Segna may have formed one such unofficial partnership, which would explain the “crosspollination” in this group of paintings.15 That the Fairfield panels were not produced directly by either Bulgarini or di Segna is further suggested by the punch marks, which do not match those in other paintings by those artists’ workshops. Major workshops employed specialized workers who used a standard selection of punch tools, thereby creating a “signature” for that shop.16 The uneven quality of the punch marks in the gilding of the Fairfield panels, in contrast, suggests that the unknown artists were forced to turn to lesser-trained outside craftsmen to finalize the work.

Federico Zeri, “Early Italian Pictures in the Kress Collection,” review of Paintings from the Samuel Kress Collection: Italian Schools XII-XV, by Fern Rusk Shapley, The Burlington Magazine 109, no. 773 (August 1967): 472-477. This attribution has been supported by Machtelt Israël, “Piero della Francesca’s Panel Paintings for Borgo San Sepolcro,” in Piero della Francesca in America: From Sansepolcro to the East Coast, ed. Nathaniel Silver (New York: The Frick Collection, 2013), 47-67 and Nicoletta Matteuzzi, Niccolò di Segna e suo fratello Francesco: pittori nella Siena di Duccio, di Simone e dei Lorenzetti (Firenze: Edifir, 2018), 203-213. Fern Rusk Shapley attributed the paintings to a follower of Pietro Lorenzetti in Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Italian Schools XII-XV Century (London: Phaidon Press, 1966), 53. 12 The other four panels with the roundel design are: St. James the Greater and St. John the Evangelist, both formerly in the Frederick Mason Perkins Collection in Assisi; St. Christopher, formerly in the collection of C. Sestieri in Rome; and St. Augustine, formerly in the Gnecco Collection in Genoa. The two additional panels with the tri-lobed design are an unidentified bishop saint, probably St. Gregory, last documented in a private collection in Florence and St. Ambrose, also formerly in the Gnecco Collection in Genoa. 13 Judith Steinhoff, email correspondence with Sarah Cantor, February 7, 2019. 14 For more on this idea of a compagnia, see both Steinhoff, “Artistic Working Relationships after the Black Death: a Sienese ‘compagnia’, c. 13501363(?),” Renaissance Studies 14, no. 1 (March 2000): 1-45 and Steinhoff Sienese Painting after the Black Death: Artistic Pluralism, Politics, and the New Art Market (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), especially pp. 78-111. 15 This is detailed in a report prepared on the paintings by Judith Steinhoff for the museum. Steinhoff discussed the punchwork, or stamped designs within a painting, with both Norman Muller and Erling Skaug, who have worked extensively on this topic. See Skaug, Punch marks from Giotto to Fra Angelico: Attribution, Chronology, andWorkshop Relations in Tuscan Panel Painting, with Particular Consideration to Florence, c. 1330-1430 (Oslo: IIC Nordic Group, 1994) for a detailed analysis of the different motifs used by workshops in Tuscany and also Mojmír S. Frinta, Punched Decoration on Late Medieval Panel and Miniature Painting (Prague: Maxdorf, 1998), for another catalogue of punch stamps. 16 This is suggested by Steinhoff in the report prepared for the museum. 11


Attributed to Priamo della Quercia (Italian, active 1426-68) Scene from a Novella (Cassone Panel), K269, ca. 1440s Tempera and tooled gold on panel Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, via the Discovery Museum, Bridgeport (2009.01.03)


his panel was once part of a large piece of furniture called a cassone (plural: cassoni), or wedding chest. Cassoni were an important element in Italian wedding traditions in the 14th and 15th centuries.17 Commissioned by the bride’s family, often as a pair, these chests would hold the bride’s belongings including clothing, bedding, and jewelry or accessories. In some cities like Florence, the cassoni would be carried in a formal procession as the bride traveled to her new home.18 The chests would be kept in the bedroom, often at the foot of the bed. While these chests were owned by families at all income levels, wealthier patrons could afford cassoni with elaborate decoration, sometimes with paintings by well-known artists. A good general overview of cassoni and their function in early modern Italy is provided by Cristelle L. Baskins, Cassone Painting, Humanism, and Gender in Early Modern Italy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998). 18 See Deborah L. Krohn, “Rites of Passage: Art Objects to Celebrate Betrothal, Marriage, and the Family,” in Art and Love in Renaissance Italy, ed. Andrea Bayer (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008), 60-67 for a concise analysis of the various rituals and objects connected to weddings in Italy. 17


Very few cassoni have survived intact, as panels with paintings were often removed in later centuries and sold (see Fig. 1 for a rare surviving example). Paintings on cassoni often depicted subjects from mythology or literature that related to love and early modern ideals of female behavior. The Fairfield panel, which decorated one of the short sides of a cassone, shows a man and a woman kneeling before an enthroned king. An older man lies prostrate at the king’s feet, while a crowd looks on. Another panel from the long side of the same cassone is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Fig. 2).19 Fig. 1 Attributed to Workshop of Apollonio di Giovanni di Tomaso, Cassone with painted front panel depicting the Conquest of Trebizond, after ca. 1461. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (CC0)

Here, the same young blonde woman with elaborately coiffed hair appears in three separate scenes: with children at left, praying to an idol within a pagan temple at center, and meeting with a young man at right (the same man with whom she kneels in the Fairfield panel). Scholars have been unable to identify the story on which these panels are based. Suggestions have included an episode from Boccaccio’s Decameron where the lovers Constantia and Martuccio Gomito are reunited in Tunisia in front of the ruler, and the Old Testament story of Esther who saves the Jewish population of Persia with her bravery by foiling the plot of Haman, the advisor to King Ahasuerus, her husband.20 Neither proposal, however, fully explains both panels. Boccaccio never mentions Constantia praying in a temple, and the Jewish Esther would not be depicted praying before a pagan idol. The attribution of these panels has also been debated by scholars, who have argued over whether they were by a Florentine or Sienese artist.21 Priamo della Quercia’s Fig. 2 Priamo della Quercia, Scenes from a Novella, early 1440s. Philadelphia: authorship was first proposed by Miklós Boskovits in The Philadelphia Museum of Art, cat. 20 (CC0) 1995 and has been generally accepted.22 Della Quercia, the son of a sculptor, was likely born in Lucca and is first documented in 1426.23 His only documented works are several altarpieces and frescoes for churches in Lucca, Volterra, and Siena.

See Carl Brandon Strehlke, Italian Paintings 1250-1450 in the John G. Johnson Collection and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2004), 363-66. 20 Bernard Berenson first proposed the story of Esther as the subject in “Quadri senza casa,” Dedalo. Rassegna d’Arte xii, no. vii (July 1932): 519520, which was accepted by Roberto Longhi, “Fatti di Masolino e di Masaccio,” La Critica d’Arte 3-4, no. xxv-xxvi (July-December 1940), 183, and Fern Rusk Shapley, Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Italian Schools XII-XV Century (London: Phaidon Press, 1966), 151. The connection to Boccaccio was first noted in Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1941), 4-5. Both panels have been published as possibly related to Boccaccio in Paul F. Watson, “A Preliminary List of Subjects from Boccaccio in Italian Painting: 1400-1550,” Studi sul Boccaccio 15 (1985-86), 152 and 155; Ellen Callmann, “Subjects from Boccaccio in Italian Painting, 1375-1525,” Studi sul Boccaccio 23 (1995), 51; and Vittore Branca, ed. BoccaccioVisualizzato: Narrare per parole e per immagini fra Medioevo e Rinascimento (Turin: Giulio Einaudi, 1999), 230. 21 Some of the suggestions include Florentine Andrea di Giusto (active 1427-47), first proposed by Berenson in “Quadri senza casa,” 519-20; the Sienese artist Domenico di Bartolo (ca. 1400-ca. 1447), put forward by Carlo Ragghianti, “Su Francesco di Valdambrino,” La Critica d’Arte 3, no. 4-6 (August-December 1938), 22; and Lorenzo Vecchietta (ca. 1412-80), another Sienese artist, in Longhi, “Fatti di Masolino e di Masaccio,” 183. 22 The attribution was first suggested to Carl Brandon Strehlke who published the Philadelphia panel as Priamo in Italian Paintings 1250-1450, 363-66. 23 For a general biography of della Quercia, see Linda Pisani, “Priamo della Quercia,” in Sumptuosa Tabula Picta: Pittori a Lucca tra Gotico e Rinascimento, ed. Maria Teresa Filieri (Livorno: Sillabe, 1998), 330-37; Pisani, “Appunti su Priamo della Quercia,” Arte Cristiana 84 (1996): 171-86; and Marco Paoli, “Documento per Priamo della Quercia,” Critica d’Arte 4, no. 50 (1985): 98-101. 19



Unknown Italian (Lombard) Madonna and Child, K578, ca. 1485-1500 Tempera on panel Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation via the Discovery Museum, Bridgeport (2009.01.04)


his small panel depicting the Virgin Mary in a tender embrace with her infant Son was likely used in a private devotional context. It formed part of a long tradition of representations of the Madonna and Child that were popular throughout Europe beginning in the 14th century. The Virgin is depicted half-length holding the Christ Child, who grasps at her cloak as she tenderly touches her cheek to his face. Although painted with the relatively new medium of oil paint, the artist also added details in gold, including the halo, the highlights on Mary’s robe, and the star on her shoulder (which signifies her chastity before and after the birth of Jesus). The Latin inscription on her halo, BENEDICTVS FRVCTVS VENTRIS TVI, comes from Luke 1:42, “Blessed be the fruit of thy womb.” The figures of Mary and Jesus are framed against a landscape background, with a distant cityscape to the right. On the left, Saint Jerome is depicted kneeling before a crucifix in front of a rocky cave. Jerome was an early Christian church father and ascetic saint who lived for some years in the desert. He is also credited with translating the Bible from Greek into Latin, the so-called “Vulgate” edition. Jerome is typically depicted either as a hermit, as he is here, or as a scholar at work in his study. Since it first entered the Kress Collection, the painting has been connected to either a follower of Ambrogio Bergognone (ca. 1453-1523), who worked primarily in Milan, or Vincenzo Foppa (ca. 1427-1515 or 16), who was based in the city of Pavia.24 The paintings of both artists demonstrate their interest in perspective and foreshortening, which was common in the latter half of the 15th century in Milan and Lombardy.25 Foppa displayed a particular interest in landscape elements, often executed in the same loose manner as in the Fairfield painting. The figures in Foppa’s works often appear somewhat rigid or stilted, although he shows a greater interest in light effects than Bergognone, who studied his work.26 Bergognone, a favorite of the Sforza family, the rulers of Milan, produced a number of smaller devotional works like the Fairfield painting, with expressive figures and settings that reflected the local landscape of the region, but with little movement.27 Fig. 1 Vincenzo Foppa, Penitent Saint Jerome, ca. 1485-1490. Tempera and gold on panel. Bergamo: Accademia Carrara. Image: Scala / Art Resource, NY

The unidentified artist of the Fairfield painting appears to have been familiar with the work of both Foppa and Bergognone. In particular, the figure of St. Jerome in the background is the mirror image of the saint from a painting by Foppa now in the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo (Fig. 1), and dated to the last decade of the 15th century.28

For a general overview of Bergognone and Foppa see Gianni Carlo Sciolla, Ambrogio da Fossano detto Il Bergognone: un pittore per la Certosa (Milan: Skira, 1998) and Maria Grazia Balzarini, Vincenzo Foppa (Milan: Jaca Book, 1997). Bernard Berenson believed that the painting is by Bergognone while William Suida, who worked as Kress’s principle advisor, suggested Bernardino Bergognone, Ambrogio’s brother. Other scholars, including Roberto Longhi, have suggested a follower of either Bergognone or Foppa. The painting was published as a follower of Foppa in Balzarini, Vincenzo Foppa, 41. 25 Andrea Bayer, “North of the Apennines: Sixteenth-Century Italian Painting in Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 60, no. 4 (Spring 2003): 11. 26 See Mina Gregori, “Caravaggio and Lombardy: A Critical Account of the Artist’s Formation,” in Painters of Reality:The Legacy of Leonardo and Caravaggio in Lombardy, ed. Andrea Bayer (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004), 27-29. 27 Bayer, “North of the Apennines,” 22-23. 28 See Balzarini, Vincenzo Foppa, 111 and Giovanni Agosti, Mauro Natale, and Giovanni Romano, Vincenzo Foppa: Un protagonista del Rinascimento (Milan: Skira, 2002), cat. no. 58. The painting was recently restored and published online in Restituzioni 2018:Tesori d’Arte Restaurati (Venice: Marsilio, 2018), 389-96, http://restituzioni.marsilioeditori.it/2018/. 24



Pietro degli Ingannati (Italian, active 1529-1548) Madonna and Child, K1269, ca. 1530-40 Oil on panel Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, via the Discovery Museum, Bridgeport (2009.01.05)


ietro degli Ingannati was likely born in the Veneto region around the city of Venice. His exact birth and death years are unknown, but scholars have established a corpus of paintings based on several of his signed works. The majority of his paintings are half-length figures of the Madonna and Child surrounded by saints. These often show the influence of Giovanni Bellini (ca. 1435-1516), the most important artist working in Venice at the end of the 15th century. Bellini’s luminous works, which took full advantage of the relatively new technique of oil painting, exemplify the style of Renaissance Venice in their brilliant colors, poetic expression, and softer forms and figures. Bellini produced a vast number of paintings of the Madonna and Child, which were incredibly popular among patrons in Venice and the surrounding areas.29 His students and assistants were also in high demand to create variations of Bellini’s ideas.30 Ingannati likely trained with Bellini in the early 16th century and continued working in a similar style throughout his career.31 His paintings often reuse or modify Bellini’s compositions, reworking figures to create seemingly original and innovative works.32 This painting, showing the Virgin Mary dressed in blue and red and holding the Christ Child on her right thigh, would have been made for private devotion in a patron’s home, rather than a church or other public place. Christ’s right hand is slightly raised as if he is about to make a gesture of blessing. The Virgin stands at a window overlooking a verdant landscape with a small hill town to the left, and a red cloth of honor to the right. Such pieces of fabric, often decorated with gold brocade, frequently appear in Venetian depictions of the Virgin and Child as an indication of their authority and status. Fern Rusk Shapley first attributed the painting to Ingannati in her catalogue of the Kress paintings of 1968.33 Previous scholars had suggested the painting was the work of an anonymous Venetian artist or Lattanzio di Rimini (active 1492-1524), another assistant of Bellini. The attribution to Ingannati has been confirmed by scholars Peter Humphrey and Mauro Lucco; Lucco also corroborated Rusk Shapley’s suggested date of 1530-40. 34

See Caroline Campbell, “The Virgin and Child: Small-Scale Devotional Works,” in Mantegna & Bellini, eds. Caroline Campbell, Dagmar Korbacher, Neville Rowley, and Sarah Vowles (London: National Gallery, 2018), 180-91 for more on Bellini’s paintings of the Virgin and Child, which were his most replicated works in Venice. 30 For more on Bellini’s workshop practice and his followers, see Anchise Tempestini, “I collaboratori di Giovanni Bellini,” Saggi e Memorie di storia dell’arte 33 (2009): 49. 31 Paolo Caccialupi, “Pietro degli Ingannati,” Saggi e Memorie di storia dell’arte 11 (1978): 24. 32 Tempestini, “I collaborator di Giovanni Bellini,” 21-107. 33 Fern Rusk Shapley, Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Italian Schools XV-XVI Century (London: Phaidon Press, 1968), 176. 34 Peter Humphrey, email correspondence with Sarah Cantor, March 16, 2019. 29



Anonymous Artist in the Circle of Nicolò dell’Abate (Italian, 1509/12-1571) Portrait of a Lady, K1751, ca. 1550 Oil on canvas Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation via the Discovery Museum, Bridgeport (2009.01.06)


he identity of the young woman in this portrait is unknown, but based on her dress, scholars believe she lived in France in the mid-16th century. Her headdress is ornamented with gold thread and pearls and her dark hair falls down her back, following a fashion popular in the French and English courts at that time. Her red brocade dress, with its elaborate sleeves and gold embroidery, appears to be Italian in style. It was common for fashionable women in European courts to follow Italian styles of dress.35 In addition to her dress, her pearl earrings and necklace suggest her wealth and status. Stylistically, the painting is closer to the Italian school rather than to the French. Scholar Roberto Longhi first suggested a connection to the Emilian artist Nicolò dell’Abate.36 Dell’Abate, who began his career in Modena before moving to Bologna, was called to France by King Henry II in 1552 and remained there until his death.37 He worked primarily at the Château de Fontainebleau, one of the king’s primary residences, along with other Italian artists, particularly Francesco Primaticcio (1504-70), who supervised most of the projects there.38 Dell’Abate produced other works in France, including several portraits, and worked with a number of assistants on frescoes and ephemeral decorations for the court. Along with Primaticcio and other Italian artists, dell’Abate helped to institute a style known as the school of Fontainebleau, which dominated French art in the 16th century. The Fairfield portrait bears some resemblance to another attributed to dell’Abate in the collection of the Galleria Borghese in Rome (Fig. 1).39 The painting may portray a woman at the court of Fontainebleau or Paris by one of dell’Abate’s assistants or followers.

Fig. 1 Nicolò dell’Abate, Portrait of a Lady, 16th century. Oil on paper, transferred to canvas. Rome: Galleria Borghese. Image: Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - Galleria Borghese

Roberto Longhi was the first to note that the headpiece and style of dress is French rather than Italian in a note dated March 20, 1950. Other scholars have confirmed this assumption including Stella Mary Newton in a letter dated April 27, 1967 and Roberta Orsi Landini in an email to Jill Deupi, the former director of Fairfield University Art Museum, dated November 5, 2010. The same type of headdress appears in a number of portraits of French and English sitters. 36 The attribution was made in the same note dated March 20, 1950 and was supported in Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri, Census of PreNineteenth-Century Italian Pictures in North American Public Collections (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972), 148. 37 The best resource on dell’Abate’s career is Sylvie Béguin and Francesca Piccinini, eds. Nicolò dell’Abate: Storie Dipinte nella Pittura del Cinquecento tra Modena e Fontainebleau (Milan: Silvana Editorale, 2005). 38 For a general overview of Fontainebleau and the extensive renovations under Francis I, Henry’s father, see Janet Cox-Rearick, The Collection of Francis I: Royal Treasures (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1996). Unfortunately, some of dell’Abate’s most important decorations at the chateau were destroyed in the 18th century. 39 Another portrait of a young woman in a private collection, published in Bernard Berenson and H.R. de Simony, La Peinture Français a Florence (Florence: Electa, 1945), cat. no. 11, as School of Fontainebleau bears a striking resemblance to the Fairfield painting in terms of style and dress. 35



Paolo Fiammingo (Flemish, ca. 1540-1596) The Nativity, K1178, ca. 1577-82 Oil on canvas Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, via the Discovery Museum, Bridgeport (2009.01.07)


n the foreground of the painting, Mary and Joseph contemplate the newborn Jesus, while a man dressed in contemporary 16th-century attire kneels before the manger, his hat and staff discarded by his feet. The scene, which has occasionally been identified as the Adoration of the Shepherds), takes place against the background of a bustling village. Fiammingo’s birth name was Pauwels Franck, but he is better known today by his Italian nickname, which translates to “Paul the Fleming,” and indicates that he was from Flanders. He trained as an artist in his hometown of Antwerp and was registered with the artists’ guild there in 1561. Shortly thereafter he moved to Venice and was working as an assistant in Tintoretto’s workshop by 1573.40 Tintoretto was one of the leading artists in the city after the death of Titian in 1576. His paintings are characterized by loose brushwork, vibrant colors, vivid contrasts between light and dark, and unusual compositions, often with dramatic angles and sharp distinctions between the foreground and background.41 Fiammingo’s primary role in Tintoretto’s studio was as a painter of landscape backgrounds. Scholars in the early 20th century found it difficult to determine his personal style and manner in figural works. Scholars in the 1960s and 70s, beginning with Stefania Mason Rinaldi, have established a corpus of his paintings, ranging from religious subjects to mythological scenes and complex allegories. The Nativity at Fairfield has been accepted as Fiammingo’s work by a number of art historians.42 The unusual setting for this episode, with an emphasis on ordinary still life elements and the use of architecture as framing, reflects Fiammingo’s background as a Flemish artist and interest in depicting the realism of daily life. The handling of paint, in contrast, reflects the influence of Fiammingo’s training in Venice. The infant Jesus is painted with such loose, painterly strokes that he appears to dissolve upon close inspection.

See Stefania Mason Rinaldi, “Paolo Fiammingo,” Saggi e memorie di storia dell’arte 11 (1978): 50, where the author attributes the landscape in a painting by Tintoretto, San Rocco in the Desert, to Fiammingo and Bert W. Meijer, “Paolo Fiammingo Reconsidered,” Mededelingen van het Nederlands Instituut te Rome 37, no. 2 (1975): 117-18, where the painting is dated to 1567. Fiammingo was registered in the Venetian painter’s guild in 1584. 41 For recent scholarship on Tintoretto and his style, see Robert Echols and Frederick Ilchman, eds., Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018) and Tom Nichols, Tintoretto:Tradition and Identity, 2nd edition (London: Reaktion Books, 2015). 42 See Mason Rinaldi, “Paolo Fiammingo” and Mason Rinaldi, “Appunti per Paolo Fiammingo,” Arte Veneta 19 (1965): 95-107 as well as Meijer, “Paolo Fiammingo Reconsidered” and Meijer, “Paolo Fiammingo tra indigeni e ‘forestieri’ a Venezia,” Prospettiva 32 (January 1983): 20-32 for more on Fiammingo’s oeuvre. The Fairfield painting is included in the catalogue raisonné in Mason Rinaldi, “Paolo Fiammingo,” 59, cat. no. 2. 40



Paolo de Matteis (Italian, 1662-1728) Andromeda and Perseus, K1786, 1700-10 Oil on canvas Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, via the Discovery Museum, Bridgeport (2009.01.09)


beautiful princess, chained to a rock, watches as a sea monster approaches her – only the sudden arrival of a hero on a flying horse will spare her from being devoured. According to Greek myth, Andromeda was offered in sacrifice to appease Poseidon, god of the sea, after her parents praised her beauty above that of his offspring. The hero Perseus, brandishing the severed head of the Gorgon Medusa, happened upon the scene by chance. Taking pity on her beauty, he swooped in – quite literally – to save the day. The subject, best known from the Renaissance onward through the retelling by the Roman poet Ovid, was a popular one among patrons and artists. Paolo de Matteis, who was one of the most prominent painters in southern Italy in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, painted at least two other versions. This one was commissioned by the Buonaccorsi family for their palace in Macerata. De Matteis was born in a small town south of Naples and moved to the city to begin his artistic training in the workshop of Luca Giordano (1634-1705), the most important Neapolitan artist of the time.43 De Matteis was in Rome before 1683 and caught the attention of Don Gaspar de Haro y Guzmán, the Marquis of Carpio and Spanish Ambassador to Rome, who paid for the artist to study with Giovanni Maria Morandi (1622-1717).44 While in Rome, de Matteis carefully copied works of earlier artists and was influenced by major painters working in the city, like Carlo Maratta (1625-1713) and Luigi Garzi (1638-1721). The brighter colors and the use of diagonals in the Fairfield painting demonstrate the impact of his training in Rome, while the looser brushwork, especially in the sea monster, reflects the continuing impact of Giordano on his work. De Matteis returned to Naples with the Marquis of Carpio, who was appointed the Viceroy (Naples and parts of southern Italy and Sicily were then under the control of the Spanish crown).45 Except for a short trip to Paris in 1702 and a few additional years in Rome starting in 1723, de Matteis remained in Naples for the rest of his career, working for local and foreign nobility, leading British gentry on the Grand Tour of Europe, and producing paintings for the Church.46 The painting entered the Kress Collection in 1950 with an attribution to the artist Giuseppe Cesari, called Cavaliere d’Arpino (1568-1640), likely based on the closeness of the composition to a work of the same subject attributed to d’Arpino in the Borghese Gallery in Rome.47 Art historian Roberto Longhi recognized that the work was from a much later date and suggested an attribution to the Roman painter Sebastiano Conca (1680-1764) in a note dated 1950. The connection to de Matteis was first mentioned in a letter from 1967 by Federico Zeri and the attribution has been confirmed by a number of other scholars. The painting has been published in several catalogues and monographs on de Matteis as a completely autograph painting by the artist, although there is some disagreement as to whether the work dates from the last decade of the 17th century, or the first decade of the 18th.48

The best source on the artist’s life and career in English is Livio Pestilli, Paolo de Matteis: Neapolitan Painting and Cultural History in Baroque Europe (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2013). 44 Pestilli, Paolo de Matteis, 3. 45 Ibid, 3. 46 Ibid, 4. 47 See Fern Rusk Shapley, Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Italian Schools XVI-XVIII Century (London: Phaidon Press, 1973), 99 for the complete attribution history. 48 In addition to Pestilli, Paolo de Matteis, 332 and 378, the painting is also included in Achille della Ragione, Paolo de Matteis: Opera Completa (Naples: Edizioni Napoli Arte, 2015), 13, fig. 31; Antonio Infante, Paolo de Matteis di Piano nel Cilento: Note biografiche e catalogo delle opere (Orria: Comunità Montana “Gelbison e Cervati,” 1990), 19, cat. no. 30; Nicola Spinosa, Pittura Napoletana del Settecento dal Barocco al Rococò (Naples: Electa, 1986), 132, no. 124; and Civiltà del ‘700 a Napoli: 1734-1799, Vol. 1 (Naples: Centro Di, 1980), 152, cat. no. 59. 43



Martin van Meytens the Younger (Swedish, 1695-1770) Self-Portrait, K1586, ca. 1730 Oil on canvas Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, via the Discovery Museum, Bridgeport (2009.01.08)


artin van Meytens the Younger (1695-1770) was born into a family of artists originally from Brussels who settled in The Hague and Delft. His father, Martin van Meytens the Elder (1648-1736), moved from The Hague to Stockholm, Sweden where he was employed as a portrait painter for the nobility and religious groups. Meytens the Younger first trained with his father and then traveled through Europe to England, France, Austria, and Italy, producing mostly portrait miniatures.49 He spent six years in Italy, working in Venice, Rome, Florence, Bologna, Modena, Milan, and Turin. He returned to Vienna around 1730 and was named a court painter to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI (1685-1740) in 1732.50 After the death of Charles VI and the succession of his daughter, Maria Theresa, Meytens maintained his position as court painter and was appointed Director of the Kunstakademie (Academy of Fine Arts) in 1759. Meytens painted numerous self-portraits over the course of his long career, and his distinctive features – the round face with its protruding brow line and slightly bulbous nose – are identifiable in each. Many of these self-portraits exist in multiple versions. An almost identical version of Fairfield’s painting can be found in the Uffizi (Fig. 1). In both paintings, Meytens is portrayed in a dressing gown and turban, a popular fashion for artists in the early 18th century and one employed in other selfportraits by Meytens. To the right, there is a frame with green fabric; in the Florentine version, there is a portrait miniature displayed on the frame, alluding to his specialty. Copies of this self-portrait and others could have served as gifts to potential patrons.51

Fig. 1 Martin van Meytens the Younger, Self Portrait. Oil on canvas. Florence: Gallerie degli Uffizi. Image: Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali Gallerie degli Uffizi

The Florentine version of Meytens’ self-portrait must have been completed before April of 1726, when the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Gian Gastone de’Medici (1671-1737), transferred it to the Uffizi, which was part of the family’s properties.52 The Grand Duke’s sister, Anna Maria Luisa de’Medici, had likely met Meytens in Rome.53 The work joined hundreds of artist selfportraits in the Uffizi as part of a collection begun by Cardinal Leopoldo de’Medici (1617-75) in 1664 and continued long after his death.54 The portrait is visible in drawings and prints showing how the collection was displayed in the 18th century (Fig. 2), grouped according to the artists’ national origins. The painting was attributed to the northern Italian artist Vittore Ghislandi, called Fra Galgario (1655-1743) in the early 20th century, first as a self-portrait and then as a portrait of a young man. In 2009, scholar Francesco Baccanelli identified it as a version of the Uffizi self-portrait.55 Baccanelli believes the painting was completed by Meytens a few years after the first version in Florence. Georg Lechner, “Martin van Meytens d. J.,” in Martin van Meytens der Jüngere, ed. Agnes Husslein-Arco and Georg Lechner (Vienna: Belvedere, 2014), 11-13. 50 According to an anonymous biography written in 1755, Charles VI had asked Meytens to stay in Vienna in 1721, but the artist wished to improve his skills as a painter through travel before settling in the city. See Bruce Alan Brown, “‘I cacciatori amanti’: The Portrait of Count Giacomo Durazzo and His Wife by Martin van Meytens the Younger,” Metropolitan Museum of Art Journal 32 (1997): 163. 51 Vittorio Natale, “Meytens a Torino: i rapporti con l’Italia di un ritrattista svedese,” Nuovi Studi: Rivista di arte antica e moderna 23 (2018): 144 and Kunstschätze der Medici, 150. Other copies are found in the Nationalmuseum of Stockholm (Inv. no. NM 2757) and Kunstmuseum Basel (Inv. no. 1371). One was sold at auction at Tajan in Paris on June 16, 2016, lot no. 19. 52 Natale, “Meytens a Torino,” 144. 53 Natale, “Meytens a Torino,” 144 and Kunstschätze der Medici: Gemälde und Plastiken aus den Uffizien dem Palazzo Pitti und weiteren Florentiner Sammlungen (Berlin: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, 1987), 149-50, Inv. no. 1875. 54 See Caterina Caneva, “The History of a Collection,” in Painters by Painters (New York: National Academy of Design, 1988), 9-27 and Maria Sframeli, “‘Consecrated to Eternity by Their Own Hands’: Leopoldo de’Medici’s Collection of Self-Portraits,” in Artists’ Self-Portraits from the Uffizi (Milan: Skira, 2007), 21-33 for a general history of the collection. The Medici art collection was donated to the city of Florence by Anna Maria Luisa, as she and her brothers had no heirs. 55 Francesco Baccanelli, email correspondence with Philip Eliasoph and Jill Deupi, December 2, 2008; July 29, 2009; and August 2, 2009. 49


Fig. 2 Benedetto Felice de Greyss, The Medici Gallery of self-portraits in the Uffizi, n.d. Pen and ink on paper. Vienna: Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. mn. 51, fol. 6. This view depicts the artists of the Northern European school; Meytens’ self-portrait appears at the extreme right, in the third row from the bottom. Photograph: PD-US, fig. 2 from Anthony Bond and Joanne Woodall, Self Portrait: Renaissance to Contemporary (London: National Portrait Gallery, 2005).


Basilio Lasinio (Italian, 1766-1832) Rustic Scene, K1818, 1783 Oil on canvas Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, via the Discovery Museum, Bridgeport (2009.01.10)


asilio Lasinio was born in Treviso, just north of Venice, and was the younger brother of Carlo Lasinio (1759-1838), a well-known printmaker who taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence.56 Basilio worked primarily in Treviso where he completed a few documented fresco cycles. He also created several series of prints, likely having learned engraving from his brother. The Fairfield painting dates from early in his career and may have been done while he was living in Florence with his brother; Carlo had moved from Venice to Florence in 1778 and was appointed to the Academy in 1794.57 The painting is a copy after an original work by artist Francesco Zuccarelli (1702-78), which was owned by the Martelli family in Florence.58 The painting was included in an exhibition held at the church of Santissima Annunziata in Florence in 1767 and recorded in the family’s inventory 1771.59 Basilio may have seen the original painting in the Martelli collection during his time in Florence, or knew of it from a reproductive print. The attribution to Basilio is based on an inscription on the back of the canvas that read Franco Zuccarelli inventò / Basilio Lasinio pinx 1783, which clarifies that the original composition was devised by Zuccarelli and the painting was done by Basilio. The inscription was covered in 1959 when the canvas was relined.

There are no publications dedicated solely to Basilio’s career, but his biography appears in Giuliano Briganti, La pittura in Italia: il Settecento (Milan: Electa, 1990), 760. There are several books and articles on Lasinio, including Paolo Cassinelli, Carlo Lasinio Incisioni (Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2004) and Donata Levi, “Carlo Lasinio, Curator, Collector and Dealer,” The Burlington Magazine 135, no. 1079 (February 1993): 133-48. 57 See Paolo Cassinelli, “Le vedute di Carlo Lasinio,” MCM 31 (1996): 31-34 for a brief overview of prints produced early in Lasinio’s career in Florence. 58 The painting and its companion are published in Federica Spadotto, Francesco Zuccarelli (Milan; Bruno Alfieri, 2007), cat. no. 216 and 217, 137-38. 59 Spadotto, Francesco Zuccarelli, 137. 56


Zuccarelli was a landscape painter who specialized in idealized views of the Italian countryside, which were popular across Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. In his idyllic paintings, shepherds or peasants work or frolic in a calm countryside, living in harmony with nature. In the painting at Fairfield copied by Lasinio, a woman in working-class dress cradles a child in the foreground, while men stripped to the waist fish in the stream behind her. Lasinio followed Zuccarelli’s painting technique, in which loose and quick brushwork is paired with bright colors to draw the viewer’s attention to the main figures. The original painting was much brighter in tonality, however the pigment in the Fairfield work has darkened over the years.


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Glossary Bole: A soft, reddish clay that is used as a ground for the application of gilding. Cassone: Italian; plural cassoni. A large wooden marriage chest, which might be decorated with inlaid wood or paintings. Cloth of honor: A suspended piece of a rich material separating holy figures – usually the Virgin and Child – from their surroundings in 15th and 16th century paintings. Copper resinate: A green pigment frequently used by artists between the 15th and 17th centuries. Fresco: A painting done on a wall or ceiling with pigment applied to wet plaster Griffin: A mythical creature combining the head and wings of an eagle with a lion’s body. Hatching: Modelling three-dimensional form by drawing or painting closely-spaced parallel lines. Painterly: A loose application of paint that produces visible brushstrokes. Polyptych: A painting – typically an altarpiece – composed of multiple smaller panels. Punchmarks: Embossed patterns in gold or silver produced by pressing specialized tools into the metal surface. Spandrel: An almost-triangular space, usually found in pairs, between an arch and the surrounding rectangular frame. Tempera: A type of paint, popular through the late 15th and early 16th centuries, that was produced by mixing crushed pigment with a glutinous binder, usually egg yolk. Underdrawing: Preliminary sketches made directly on the surface of the canvas or panel as a guide for the artist.