The Met buys a sleeper

April 22 2014

Image of The Met buys a sleeper

Picture: Metropolitan Museum

Above is an interesting new acquisition for the Met in New York, a Salvator Mundi they say is by the Spanish painter Fernando Yanez de la Almedina, and painted in c.1505. In case you're thinking the picture looks a bit Leonardo-esque to be by a Spaniard, then the Met explains in its informative note:

Yáñez clearly spent time in Italy prior to his highly successful career in Spain and he rather than Llanos is usually identified with the "Ferrando Spagnuolo" who in April and August of 1505 collected money for work with Leonardo da Vinci on a mural depicting the battle of Anghiari in the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence ("Ferrando Spagnolo, dipintore, per dipinguere con Lionardo da Vinci nella sala del consiglio florine 5 larghi e a Thomaso di Giovane Merini, su garzone per macinare e colori, florini 1 in oro"; see Benito et al., Los Hernandos, pintores hispanos del entorno de Leonardo, Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia, 1998, p. 18). Besides Florence, he must also have spent time in northern Italy, where perhaps not coincidentally Leonardo was active prior to his return in Florence in February 1503. This remains highly speculative, however, and is based purely on the stylistic features of Yáñez’s documented work in Spain. The most thorough as well as convincing reconstruction of his early activity in Italy is that of Ibáñez Martínez (1999, pp. 221–40), who rejects earlier conjectures and attributions and considers the Metropolitan’s picture one of two done in Italy by the artist under the influence of Leonardo da Vinci.

The picture was recently offered by Christie's in New York as a work by Jacopo Barbari (1450-1515), where it bought in against an estimate of $400,000-$600,000. I don't know enough about either painter to make even a guess on the attribution, but I remember thinking it was of exceptional quality when I saw it, and was surprised it failed to sell. 

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