Art of The Berlin Galleries – Collection James Simon

We pass through Cabinet 40, filled with Florentine marbles of the late fifteenth century, by Antonio Rosselino and Mino da Fiesole. Madonnas by Filippino Lippi (82), Mainardi (77), and a portrait of a youth (78), by Botticelli add to the decoration of the room but need not detain us. In Cabinet 39 we find the Collection of M. James Simon which was donated to the museum in honour of the opening of the present building in 1904. It consists almost exclusively of works of the Italian Renaissance.

The earliest is a ” Madonna with sleeping Child,” by Mantegna, where the Mother’s stiffly bent head has a strong Donatellesque appearance. It is a very early work, that seems to have been known to Dürer when he painted the Dresden altarpiece, for the unusual pose of the Madonna is there repeated. A tondo, by Raffaelino del Garbo, of a Madonna with two worshipping angels, is over-decorated, as is usual with the artist.

Catena (died 1531), fully imbued with the Giorgionesque spirit, has two pictures here, a ” St. Magdalene,” a blonde, whose bare bosom is half concealed by blue drapery: and the portrait of a young lady, with a wealth of soft, long hair, partly taken up in a white veil. They are both in the Bellini style. The ” Portrait of a Man ” is by an unknown artist who belonged to the school of Antonello da Messina; and another man’s portrait is by Romanino (1485-1566), a finely painted head of a forty years old savant. Agnolo Bronzino (1502-1572) is the author of the portrait of an aristocratic looking man, rather thinly painted but very expressive.

An interesting genre is a ” Salome,” palpably by an unknown Umbrian artist. In a high, open hall with colonnades stands a large table behind which are seated the king and four courtiers. Salome enters very modestly, in a red garment with brocade sleeves, and offers in the most gracious manner the head of John the Baptist. A quaint group in the foreground is a lanky page, a thickheaded court-fool, a dwarf who reaches to the page’s waist, and a monkey.

Among a few old Dutch paintings we must single out a work by Gerard David (1450-1523), showing four saints; and two portraits, of a man and his wife, by the Cologne artist Bartol Bruyn (1493-1556).

The next cabinet, 36, is devoted to Bronzes of the Italian Renaissance, among which we find the work of Benvenuto Cellini, Sansovino, Andrea Riccio, Ghiberti, and especially a statue of John the Baptist, by Donatello. Then we retrace our steps through the cabinets and enter the galleries which contain the sixteenth century paintings of the High Renaissance,

( Originally Published 1912 )

The Art of The Berlin Galleries:Rooms 41, 44, 43. Venetian Paintings Of The 15th CenturyRoom 42 – Venetian And Lombard Sculpture, And Venetian PaintingsRoom 39—collection James SimonRoom 45 – Florentine Paintings Of The 16th CenturyThe Spanish PaintingsThe French PaintingsThe English PaintingsThe German PaintingsThe Dutch And Flemish PaintingsThe Royal National GalleryRead More Articles About: The Art of The Berlin Galleries