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Painting Title Pietà
Collection York Art Gallery
Artist Attributed to Benson, Ambrosius (South Netherlandish painter, ca. 1495-before 1550)
Date Earliest about 1530
Date Latest about 1535
Description The Virgin kneels in front of the cross supporting the body of Christ, with an Italianate landscape beyond. The slacker drawing in the face of the Virgin is partly accounted for by overcleaning and, as suggested by Georges Marlier, who dates this picture circa 1530-1535, Benson's use of workshop assistants. Ambrosius Benson was born in Lombardy but moved to Bruges and became a pupil of Gerard David. Benson was a head of the Guild of St Luke from 1537-1539 and 1543-1544. He ran a large workshop that exported his paintings to Spain, and it is now believed that so called Master of Segovia was actually Benson. The group of Christ and the Virgin was also used by Benson in the central panel of the triptych in a European private collection (before 1929 in Zamora, until 1977 in Madrid, later in Rotterdam and sold at Christie, Manson & Woods, London on 9 February 2012, lot 641).
Current Accession Number YORAG : 832
Subject religion (Pietà); figure; landscape
Measurements 37.3 x 29.2 cm
Material oil on panel (oak)
Acquisition Details Given by F.D. Lycett Green through the National Art Collections Fund 1955.
Provenance New York art market 1931; A.S. Drey, from whom purchased by F.D. Lycett Green 1949.
Principal Exhibitions F.D. Lycett Green Gift, York City Art Gallery, 1955, no. 121.
Publications Marier, G., Ambrosius Benson, Bruxelles, 1957, pp. 142-143, pl. XXIX, cat. 45; York Art Gallery Catalogue - Catalogue of Paintings, Vol. I: Foreign Schools 1350-1800, City of York Art Gallery, York, 1961, pp. 71-72, pl. 65; Oil Paintings in Public Ownership. North Yorkshire, London, 2006, p. 239.

Francis Denis Lycett Green (1893-1959) was a member of the wealthy industrial Green family from Wakefield that was among the great philanthropic benefactors of York. He began buying pictures during the 1920s, advised by some of the most famous art historians of the day. By the 1940s, he owned examples from almost every school and period of European Art – a comprehensive collection of over 130 paintings dating back from the early 14th century to the end of the 18th century, representing every important European school of art. In 1952, he offered it to the National Gallery of South Africa, having moved to Cape Town in the hope that the climate would improve his health (which was poor because he was badly injured in the First World War). However when a dispute arose with the Cape Town Gallery, Francis withdrew his pictures in protest and shipped them back to England. The entire collection of 130 pictures was at first on loan to the York Art Gallery and in the spring of 1955 he decided to give it to the Gallery.

Rights Owner York Museums Trust (York Art Gallery)
Author Dr Magdalena Łanuszka



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