Siena active ca.1449–1492
Pellegrino is a member of the Sienese school of painting which flourished in the fifteenth century. He studied with Giovanni di Paolo (1399-1482) who ran the most successful workshop in quattrocento Siena. Pellegrino was a notable miniaturist, like his Florentine contemporary Lorenzo Monaco (ca. 1370–1425), and produced decorated choir books for the Sienese Pope Pius II for the Cathedral in Pienza and the Duomo in Siena. Paintings such as the signed and dated 1490 Madonna and Child with Saints in the Brooks Museum, Memphis show with their elongated forms and pointy physiognomies the influence of Giovanni di Paolo. However, as his career moved forward Pellegrino’s style comes increasingly close to that of his contemporary, Sano di Pietro (ca. 1465–70). Like Sano, Pellegrino had a market for private devotional panels depicting the Madonna and Child with Saints. The almond eyes of his Madonnas, the exquisitely drawn draperies, the lavishly tooled gold backgrounds and the compositional device of arranging saints in a sort of mandorla around the Madonna show Pellegrino’s closeness to the formulae of Sano di Pietro. However, Pellegrino retains something of the eccentricity of Giovanni di Paolo, visible in the characterization of the saints and details such as the hair of his protagonists.
Pellegrino, like Giovanni di Paolo, Sassetta and Sano di Pietro paints in a way which seems astonishingly archaic in view of what was happening at the same time in Florence. They all maintain the solemn dignity and refinement of their artistic ancestor Duccio (active 1278–1318). Equally they share, though expressed in more up-to-date terms, Duccio’s love of narrative detail; this can at time seem naïve and at others ‘modern’ and almost hallucinatory. They also clung to the use of gold as a background long after it had been abandoned in neighboring Florence.
Top Auction Results for Pellegrino di Mariano
The Story of Mars and Venus: a cassone panel
Sold for £81,250 ($105,355)
London, Christie’s, 6 July 2017, Old Masters Evening Sale, lot 19
Madonna col Bambino
Sold for €72,750 ($105,282)
Milan, Sotheby’s, 14 June 2011, Old Master Paintings, 19th Century Paintings, Furniture, Works of Art and Rare Books, lot 9
Madonna col bambino e i santi caterina da siena, bernardino da siena, girolamo, dorotea e due angeli
Sold for €65,000 hammer ($82,855)
Florence, Pandolfini Casa d'Aste, 28 October 2014, 90 Anni di Aste: Capolavori da Collezioni Italiane, lot 15