Giovanni Angelo d'Antonio - inv. 62a
The Virgin Enthroned with the Child and angels between Saints Augustine, Catherine, Apollonia and Nicholas of Tolentino are depicted in the lower level; the Crucifixion between Saints Sebastian, Peter, Laurence and Jerome are in the upper. The panels of this polyptych were only united at the beginning of the 20th century. The central panel, which belonged to Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli’s collection, was bought in 1864; the Museum bought the side panels of the lower level in 1910 from a London antiques dealer. The whole of the upper level, found in the sacristy of the collegiate church San Benedetto in Gualdo Tadino, was bought in 1914. The altarpiece was reconstructed following indications from the great art historian, Bernard Berenson.
The polyptych was exhibited in the Poldi Pezzoli, but in 1922, due to its considerable size, unsuitable for the rooms of the private house-museum, it was loaned to the Brera picture gallery in exchange for the famous Persian ‘Hunting’ carpet. However, for various reasons, this reconstruction is no longer held to be correct: it probably combines fragments from two different altarpieces, by the same artist and similar in both style and dating. The lower level probably comes from the Augustinian church of San Nicola in Tolentino, and the upper might have been part of an altarpiece originally on the high altar of the abbey of San Benedetto in Gualdo Tadino.
The two erroneously combined Brera altarpieces, datable to about 1462-1465, were long thought to be by Girolamo di Giovanni da Camerino. They have only recently been attributed to the most important and representative artist of the Camerino 15th-century school, Giovanni Angelo d’Antonio.