Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, called Sodoma
(Vercelli 1477–1549 Siena)

The Holy Family with The Infant Saint John the Baptist in a Landscape

Tempera and oil on panel, a tondo
76.2 cm (30 in.)
c. 1500–1508

 ‘In 1592 Rudolf granted Arcimboldo the title of count palatine (of the Lateran) – a singular honour that could be conveyed only by the emperor, and which in the sixteenth century was granted to only three artists: Sodoma, Titian, and Arcimboldo. It has been suggested that this form of ennoblement may cast light on the intellectual capacities of court artists who were so honoured […] and on their role in inter-court relations.’

Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Arcimboldo: Visual Jokes, Natural History, and Still-Life Painting, Chicago & London, 2009, p. 49.

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Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, called Sodoma, was born in 1477 in Vercelli, Piedmont, as the son of a shoemaker. In the last decade of the 15th century, Sodoma was an apprentice to Giovanni Martino Spanzotti (1455–1528), and during his artistic training in Lombardy, Sodoma was strongly influenced by the works of Leonardo Da Vinci (1452–1519).1 This affinity is particularly marked in the present work, in the naturalistic features of Saint Joseph, reminiscent of Leonardo’s physiognomies.

In 1501 Sodoma went to Siena, where he combined the High Renaissance style of the early 16th century with the local, more provincial Sienese artistic style, thus ensuring his popularity with the most important religious and private patrons.2 Sodoma painted the present tondo early in his career, before he left Siena for Rome in 1508 when he was invited by Pope Julius II (1443–1513) to work at the Vatican. There, he worked on the Stanza della Segnatura alongside Raphael (1483–1520) whose influence can be seen in Sodoma’s mature style. He returned to Siena in 1510, where he was to spend most of his time until his death in 1549.

Sodoma gained great recognition during his own life and was rewarded by Pope Leo X (1475–1521) with the title of Cavaliere, and by Charles V (1500–1558), who granted Sodoma the title of Count Palatine of the Lateran, an honour bestowed on only two other artists during the 16th century: Titian and Arcimboldo.3

Notes
1. Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Il Sodoma,” accessed June 19, 2020 from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Il-Sodoma.
2. A. Tartuferi, ed., Collezione Gianfranco Luzetti: Dipinti, sculture, disegni, XIV-XVIII secolo, exh. cat., Florence, 1991, 92.
3. Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Arcimboldo: Visual Jokes, Natural History, and Still-Life Painting, Chicago & London, 2009, 49.

Prince Golinicheff Koutousoff (Prince Arseny Arkadyevich Golenishchev-Kutuzov, 1848–1913), Saint Petersburg, probably by 1903, from whom acquired by;
Nicholas Riabouchinsky (1877–1951), Moscow;
his sale; American Art Galleries, New York, 26 April 1916, lot 22, for $8,500, from whom acquired by,
with Kleinberger Galleries, New York, by whom sold to,
Mr. (1890–1970) and Mrs. Cyrus Hall McCormick (1888–1979), Chicago, 12 June 1916, for USD 16,000, by whose estate sold;
Christie’s, New York, 10 January 1980, lot 89, to a New York-based art dealer;
Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s, London, 11 December 1985, lot 4 to A. Deveraux;
with Gianfranco Luzzetti, Florence, by 1990, from whom acquired by;
Canadian private collector, by whom sold;
Anonymous sale [Property of a Private Collector]; Sotheby’s, New York, 27 January 2011, lot 130, to a private collector;
Private collection, New York;
The Klesch Collection.

Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, ‘Loan Exhibition from Private Collections’, June – October 1919.
London, Grosvenor House, ‘The Grosvenor House Antiques Fair’, 14 – 23 June 1990.
Florence, Galleria Luzzetti, ‘Collezione Gianfranco Luzzetti: Dipinti, sculture, disegni, XIV-XVIII secolo’, 18 September – 6 October 1991, no. 19.

Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago, vol. 13, September 1919, pp. 89–90, 94, reproduced p. 89.
F. Frangi, “Il Sodoma: un compianto giovanile e qualche indicazione sulle fonti figurative”, Paragone, vol. 473, July 1989, pp. 66–67 (as ‘dateable to 1505–08’), reproduced fig. 69.
A. Tartuferi, ed., Collezione Gianfranco Luzzetti: Dipinti, sculture, disegni, XIV–XVIII secolo, exh. cat., Florence, 1991, pp. 92–95, cat. no. 19, reproduced in colour p. 93.
D. Radini Tedeschi, Giovan Antonio Bazzi, detto il Sodoma: La vita, le opere e gli allievi di uno dei massimi artisti del Rinascimento, Subiaco, 2010, p. 130, cat. no. 16 (as ‘dateable to 1504’).

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Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, called Sodoma
(Vercelli 1477–1549 Siena)

The Holy Family with The Infant Saint John the Baptist in a Landscape

Tempera and oil on panel, a tondo
76.2 cm (30 in.)
c. 1500–1508

‘In terms of inventive power, passion for sensation and creative imagination, Baldung is not inferior to any of the great masters of his generation.’

Jan Laut, Hans Baldung Grien, exh. cat., Karlsruhe, 1959, foreword.

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