Judith signs her name

08 Feb
(c) National Trust, Ascott; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Bonifazio de’ Pitati (Veronese) (1487–1553), “Judith with the Head of Holofernes,” 1500-1553, Oil on panel, 24 x 9 cm, National Trust, Ascott Wing, near Leighton Buzzard, Buckinghamshire, UK

Poor Bonifazio de’ Pitati.  He trained under a master – Palma il Vecchio – as other Renaissance artists did in Verona and then went to Venice to run a large workshop.  He produced many notable works:

  • Dives and Lazarus, Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice
  • The Finding of Moses, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
  • Christ and the Adulteress, National Museum, Warsaw.
  • Holy Family with St. John the Baptist, Wawel Castle, Kraków

But then he forgot to sign his name and other painters received credit for his work.

  • Repose in Egypt (also ascribed to Paris Bordone), Pitti Palace.
  • Sibyl with the Emperor Augustus (also ascribed to Paris Bordone).
  • Finding of Moses (formerly attributed to Giorgione}. Milan. Brera.
  • Finding of Moses (formerly given Modena. Gall. Adoration of the Kings. to Giorgione).
  • Holy Family (formerly called a Titian or Bordone, Colonna Palace, Rome.

This painting of Judith is clearly by … Not So Fast. This work of art is actually labeled “style of” Bonifazio de’ Pitati.

EXCUSE ME??  “Style of “ or “School of” or “Follower of”  – what the neck does that even MEAN??  Is there a rule that governs the ability to say “Style of “ or “School of” or “Follower of”?  Or can I just slap that on any old juntique store find?  Apparently not – because according to the people who insure them

“High quality works produced in a specific period that cannot be directly connected to an individual artist by a signature or significant provenance, though created in the same style of an artist, are considered school or genre paintings.” (1)

Poor Bonifazio de’ Pitati. Now even unknown artists are cashing in on his fame.  If only he had remembered to sign it.

Or maybe he simply was humble and did not want to get a Big Head …


(1) Erin Hollenbank, “Valuing art with no signature: The claim case of Maxfield Parrish,” PropertyCasualty360, July 8, 2014


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Posted by on February 8, 2015 in Distracted


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