Upper East Side

Master of The  San Miniato Altarpiece
Virgin and Child

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It was a bitterly cold ‘Upper East Side’ morning when I was viewing a New York auction that, I hoped, would offer tempting old master paintings. Usually, the paintings and sculptures on show were either indifferent, poor ‘school’ copies or ‘not my period.’ I was searching for early and High Renaissance paintings that were affordable but more often than not, in poor condition, but when in the care of talented English conservators, could undergo miraculous resurrections.

Well, on this particular frosty January morning I struck gold. Hanging above an unpolished and worm eaten Italian credenza was a poplar wood panel covered in layers of tissue paper and yes, behind the paper there appeared to be the outline of a Renaissance Virgin and Child...

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