Back to the roots of the French Renaissance

On 26 June 2019, by Philippe Dufour

This work by the Frenchman Nicolas Cordonnier, an early 16th-century painter from the Champagne province, achieved a well-deserved result. It had never come up for auction before.

Nicolas Cordonnier, known as the Master of the Legend of the Santa Casa (active in Troyes from 1497 to 1531), Saint Vincent Ferrier Preaching, ca. 1515-1520, oil on oak panel, three vertical boards, 87.5 x 91 cm.
Result: €94,095

Although it had been on specialists’ radar screens for a long time, the work disappeared again until its last owners, living in the Pau area, decided to sell it. Painted ca. 1515-1520, the highly coveted oil on panel of Saint Vincent Ferrier preaching sparked a bidding war that ended with a hammer blow at €94,095, surpassing its upper estimate of €15,000. In this regard it should be noted that because his work is scarce, this painter, also known as "Master of the Legend of the Santa Casa", had never come up for auction before (source: Artnet). Born in the Champagne province, he worked mainly in Troyes but was influenced by Provençal painters such as Josse Lieferinxe, a Flemish artist working in Avignon and Marseille. abandoning the canons of the late Gothic style, Cordonnier introduced Renaissance elements into his compositions, both in the relationships between the various planes and in the colours. A sentence from the saint's sermon, which was hotly contested by part of the audience, appears in a phylactery: "Timete Oev evia Venit Hora Ivoich Eivs". At the top left, Christ is in a golden mandorla surrounded by heavenly clouds. On the opposite side, two religious figures are painted in grey. One is Saint Francis and the other a holy bishop.

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