The Maestro dei Cassoni Campana in the limelight

On 20 June 2019, by Philippe Dufour

Not often seen in the sale room, the Florentine master's work found itself in the news with a composition recounting one of Theseus's action-packed adventures.

Maestro dei Cassoni Campana (active in Florence in the early 16th century), scene from the life of Theseus and Hippolytus, inlaid poplar panel, 69 x 161 cm.
Result: €248,000

Beating its high estimate, this poplar panel painted in the early 16th century fetched €248,000, making it the second-highest price obtained for this artist (source: Artnet). The highly colourful narrative in the picture, entitled "Scene from the life of Theseus and Hippolytus", was the work of the mysterious Maestro dei Cassoni Campana. The artist's long pseudonym reflects the interpretation given to these unusual formats, erroneous in this case as they were not in fact decorations for cassoni – marriage chests much prized by the great Florentine families – but components inserted into the wood panelling of their houses. In any event, this commonly used name perhaps conceals a Frenchman working in Italy, or Antonio di Jacopo, aka Antonio Gallo. The painting was one of a series of six works, four of which are now in the Musée du Petit-Palais in Avignon. They have a prestigious pedigree, having belonged to the collector Giampetro Campana. Meanwhile, this Theseus and Hippolytus was once owned by the engineer Gustave Eiffel.

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