A previously unknown Italian Trecento panel painting went on display today at the Damjanich János Múzeum at Szolnok. The exhibition was opened by Mária Prokopp, Professor Emeritus at Eötvös Loránd University, a noted expert of early Italian painting. Dr. Prokopp provided the following information about the panel to the Medieval Hungary blog:
The panel was discovered in 2010 by the art historian of the Szolnok Museum, László Zsolnay, at the parish church of Kunhegyes. He was able to trace the history of the painting, which comes from a small chapel near Kunhegyes, at Tomajpuszta. This Neo-Gothic chapel has been erected by the Nemes family, and was completed in 1892. The Trecento panel was donated to the chapel around 1900. It stood there until 1945 - after which the chapel was sacked and fell into ruin. From the furnishings of the chapel, only this altarpiece was saved, which was taken to Kunhegyes and forgotten - until it was found by Zsolnay. On the back of the panel, there are two seals proving the legal export of the panel from Italy and its origin from Florence. It was established that the panel comes from the church of Santa Maria a Ricorboli in Florence. Ricorboli is now a suburb of Florence, just south of the Arno. The medieval church there was demolished around 1900, and its original furnishings were sold at the time, to raise money for the new church, built between 1906-1926 (which today still preserves a panel painting of the Virgin and child, attributed to Giotto and his workshop).
|Trecento panel from Kunhegyes - Photo by Magyar Nemzet, mno.hu|
The panel painting is the right section of a large polyptych, in a modern (Neo-Gothic) frame, and depicts two saints. The one on the right, facing towards the center of the former altarpiece, is St. Dominic. The other saint is a knight, who has been tentatively identified by dr. Prokopp as St. Nemesius, while László Zsolnay proposes that he represents St. Sebastian (with a bunch of arrows in his hand). Other parts of the altarpiece have so far not been identified. It is quite clear that the painting comes from the circle or workshop of Andrea Orcagna, the leading master in Florence after the Black Death of 1348. Mária Prokopp proposed a possible attribution to Jacopo di Cione, while Angelo Tartuferi, curator of medieval art of The Uffizi attributed it to Giovanni del Biondo, when asked by Zsolnay (Tartuferi has since become the new director of the Galleria dell'Accademia). However, the current condition of the painting makes the task of attribution difficult.
The painting will be on display at Szolnok until the end of Szeptember, after which it will be taken to Eger, to be incorporated into to the Ecclesiastical Museum (the parish church of Kunhegyes belongs to the Archibishopric of Eger). Hopefully, the panel will be restored soon, after which its attribution and dating can be settled and of course further research can be carried out about its origins.
|The panel, as shown to the press before going on display. Source: mti.hu|