15th century masterpieces hung unrecognized in Yorkshire church for a century

December 15th, 2008 - 12:43 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec 15 (ANI): Recent valuation of two paintings that hung unrecognized in a church in South Yorkshire, UK, has revealed that both of them are 15th century masterpieces by Renaissance master Sano di Pietro.

According to a report in the Telegraph, these paintings, which have been valued at around 300,000 pounds, had hung unrecognized in the Lady Chapel at the Church of St John and St Mary Magdalene, Goldthorpe, South Yorkshire, since it was built in 1916.

But, the five feet high panels were sent for valuation during a recent refurbishment of the church and were found to be among some of di Pietros largest works outside Italy.

They were just always there and no one ever really noticed them, said Denis Hays, warden of the church.

They were in the Lady Chapel and Id seen them so often but never taken much notice. We were amazed when we heard what they were and what they were worth, he added.

The current Earl of Halifax said that his great grandfather, the 2nd Viscount, donated the paintings, but their worth had been forgotten over the years.

My Great Grandfather, 2nd Viscount Halifax, built Goldthorpe Parish Church in circa 1916 and also provided most of the furnishings including these pictures, he said.

The pictures are currently on loan to the York Art Gallery.

These panels are a truly incredible find and we are extremely proud to be able to put them on public show for the first time since they have been accredited to Sano di Pietro, said Laura Turner, curator of art at the gallery.

The pieces are stunning to look at, but there is also a real sense of mystery about them as so much remains unknown about their incredible past, she added.

According to Michael Liversidge, a former dean of Arts and now a Senior Lecturer at Bristol University, So many altarpieces were broken up and sold and these are likely to have come from one of them.

Sano de Pietro was a major Sienese painter from the early 15th century and this is an exciting discovery. He painted in the international gothic style which was more fluid and linear than the style in Florence, he added.

The panels will be on show at the York Art Gallery until the end of March. (ANI)

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