Pere Serra (doc. 1357 - 1405)
Pere Serra (doc. 1357 - 1405) "The Healing of Aeneas" Panel painting. Barcelona. Circa 1390 - 1395. 107.2 x 88.4cm. From the Main Altarpiece of the Church of Sant Pere de Cubells, Lleida. According to the report written by Dr. Alberto Velasco Gonzàlez, "the panel was part of one of the most important altarpieces painted in the western part of Catalonia around 1400. I refer to the group that presided over the main altar of the church of Sant Pere in the town of Cubells (Lleida), until around 1765-1769 when it was replaced by a baroque altarpiece more in keeping with eighteenth-century fashions." "The panel represents a miracle related to the hagiographic legend of Saint Peter, the Healing of Aeneas, and is one of the compartments of the scattered main altarpiece of the church of Sant Pere de Cubells (Lleida). Some of the compartments of the ancient Gothic altarpiece must have been hidden in corners in the church, while others were reused in the construction of a chest of drawers for the sacristy. The main altarpiece of Sant Pere de Cubells has recently been the object of interest of Francesc Ruiz, who has reconstructed the story of what happened to it and has proposed a hypothetical reconstruction of it based on the known compartments. As we have already pointed out, some panels should not have been integrated into the altarpiece, such as the Resurrection of Tabitha, which was already in the Roberto Schiff collection in Rome at the beginning of the 20th century. Apparently, it was during the twenties that Jaume Camps discovered the panels. From that time they entered the market through the antique dealer Josep Bardolet (1891-1982). Several changes of hands led to the dispersal of the set, which today has been distributed among different museums and collections: the Nativity and the Resurrection of Christ, which were part of the predella, are in the Maricel Museum in Sitges; the Preaching of Saint Peter and the Fall of Simon Magus are in the Museum of Fine Arts of Bilbao; and, finally, the Crucifixion of Peter and a second part of the predella with the Ascension, the Pentecost and the Coronation of the Virgin are in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. The rest of the panels are in various private collections. The Healing of Aeneas does not appear mentioned by the sources that tell us about the sale and dispersal of the set, although we do not know the cause of this non-appearance. The first mention of the panel in historiography is found in the monograph on Cubells that Jaume Camps, the discoverer of the compartments, published in 1972. Years later, Josep Gudiol and Santiago Alcolea included it among the known compartments of the set, identifying the scene as a "Miracle of Saint Peter", noting that it had been cut and that its fragments were found in different private collections in Barcelona. In reality, this is not the case, since the fragment here is the only one known from aforementioned scene. In 1995 Ana Galilea Antón again alluded to the compartment in her study of the two panels kept in Bilbao, going so far as to reproduce it graphically and identifying the scene with a healing of the sick. Favà once again alluded to the panel, noting that we owe it to Camps for its first publication, and it was, finally, Francesc Ruiz who correctly identified the episode depicted with the Healing of Aeneas in his monographic study on the altarpiece published in 2015. The saint is the main protagonist of the episode, and hence the centre of the composition. He has been depicted full-length, barefoot, wearing a bluish tunic and a cloak which is red on the outside and green on the inside. He has a golden nimbus decorated with punched motifs based on dots and holds a book in his left hand, while with his right he makes the gesture that causes the miracle to happen. Next to Peter is a second figure with a halo, wearing an orange tunic and a blue and red cloak, who could represent Saint Paul, the habitual companion of the prince of the apostles. In the composition we see other characters who are witnesses of the miracle. The action focuses on Aeneas, who appears half sitting up in bed, dressed in white and raising one of his arms in response to Peter's gesture. The bed, arranged horizontally to the pictorial plane, is covered by fabric profusely decorated with plant motifs. Next to the bed we see a kneeling figure, half-length, dressed in a pink tunic and a red bonnet, with arms crossed in front of their chest, in a gesture of respect for the miracle being witnessed. Something similar occurs with the character who appears behind, standing, in a grey tunic and a wide-brimmed hat decorated with a brooch, who makes very eloquent gestures with both hands. Finally, it should be noted that the miracle takes place inside a room, of which we can see the floor, smooth and dark in colour, as well as some walls and a door ajar in the background. The characters occupy a good part of the composition, leaving little space for the setting and structural elements." Labels and inscriptions: on the back is a label which reads "Gudiol. Restauradores obras de arte. Anselmo Clavé 4, pral. Telephone 246 25 20. Barcelona-2”, with a handwritten inscription of the name of a previous owner, Gunther Hartmann. Attached is a certificate from Dr. Alberto Velasco González Provenance: - Barcelona, Josep Bardolet (circa 1920-1929) - Barcelona, Josep Costa (?) - Barcelona, Josep Valenciano (?) - Barcelona, Fages de Climent collection (1938) - Barcelona, Gunther Hartmann collection - Barcelona, private collection (2021) Photos kept in photo libraries: - Barcelona Arxiu Fotogràfic de Barcelona, fondo Francesc Serra, sección Retablos (Photographic Archive of Barcelona, Francesc Serra fund, Reredos section, cliché 7362, year 1938). - Institut Amatller d’Art Hispànic (Barcelona), Gudiol B-150 cliché, undated. Bibliography: JAUME CAMPS, Cubells. El castell. El tresor artístic. Costumari antic i modern, Tárrega, F. Camps Calmet Editor, 1972, lám. XXXIII. JOSEP GUDIOL RICART Y SANTIAGO ALCOLEA BLANCH, Pintura gótica catalana, Barcelona, Polígrafa, 1985, p. 59, cat. 142. ANA GALILEA ANTÓN, La pintura gótica española en el Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 1995, pp. 62 and 65, fig. 31. CÈSAR FAVÀ, “Pere Serra. Quo Vadis”, en Catalunya 1400. El Gòtic Internacional, Barcelona, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, 2012, p. 132. FRANCESC RUIZ QUESADA, “Pere Serra i el seu taller, a l’entorn del retaule major de Sant Pere de Cubells”, en Viatges a la bellesa. Miscel·lània homenatge a Maria Rosa Manote i Clivilles, Retrotabulum Maior 1, 2015, p. 116 (reproduced on pp. 115 and 118), available online at http://www.ruizquesada.com/index.php/es/retrotabulum-mayor-esp/183-retrotabulummayor-n1-viatges-a-la-bellesa-miscellania-homenatge-a-maria-rosa-manote-i-clivilles The painting has a current and valid exportation license awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Culture.
Pere Serra (doc. 1357 - 1405)
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