The National Museum of Western Art

update 24 February 2018

on display Permanent Collection

Lorenzo Leonbruno da Mantova [Mantova?, 1489 - c. 1537]

The Nativity

Datec. 1515
Materials/Techniquesoil on panel
Size (cm)43.8 x 36.3
InscriptionsSigned upper right on stable beam: LIONBRVN MANTV.
Credit LinePurchased
CategoryPaintings
Collection NumberP.1979-0001
The Nativity

This work was first published in G.F. Waagen's Treasures of Art in Great Britain (1854), and as the signature must have been painted over at that time, was attributed to the northern Italian artist Gaudenzio Ferrari. The composition develops naturally from foreground to middle ground and then onto the background, and the color scheme is richly varied. While we can spot the influence of Correggio in the foreground figures, the landscape elements in the background speak of the detailed style of the miniaturist Leonbruno and a northern, particularly Flemish technique. This work, while small, is extremely important as few authenticated works by Leonbruno remain today.(Source: Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2009, cat. no. 15)

Provenance

G. J. Cholmondeley; Neeld Coll., Gritteleton, Wiltshire; Auc., Christie's, 9 June 1944, no. 6 (as Gaudenzio Ferrari); Mrs. Nora Prince-Litter; Auc., Christie's, London, 8 July 1977. no. 56; Thomas Agnew and Sons Ltd., London, by which sold to the NMWA, 1979.

Exhibition History

1978
Old Master Paintings: Recent Acquisition, Thomas Agnew and Sons, Ltd., London, 1978 - 1978, cat. no. 36
1996
The Crossing Visions: European and Modern Japanese Art from the Collections of The National Museum of Western Art & The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, 20 July 1996 - 8 September 1996, cat. no. 73
2006
Mantegna a Mantova, 1460-1506, the Palazzo Te, Mantua, 16 September 2006 - 14 January 2007, cat. no. 69, col. repr.

Bibliography

1854
Waagen, Gustav Friedrich. Treasures of Art in Great Britain. vol. 2, London, 1854, p. 244 ( as Gaudenzio Ferrari).
1977
Russel, Francis. A 'Nativity' by Lorenzo Leonbruno. The Burlington Magazine. vol. 119, no. 893, Aug. 1977, p. 601, fig. 101.
1977
Christie's Review of the Season 1977. London/ NewYork, 1977, p. 26, repr.
1978
Old Master Paintings (Catalogue of Thomas Agnew and Son Ltd.). London, 1978 , p.28, no. 36, col. repr.
1979
Annual Bulletin of the National Museum of Western Art. No. 14 (1979), 1981, New Acquisitions (Painting). pp. 4-5, New Acquisitions (Catalogue). pp. 14-15, repr.
1983
Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1983 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 12. repr.
1989
Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1989 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 14, repr.
1990
Catalogue of painting acquisitions: 1979-1989. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1990, pp. 41-42, repr.
2013
Masterpieces: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The Western Art Foundation, 2013 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 15, col. repr.

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