The Musée des beaux-arts in Tours has an exhibit -- Autour de Lorenzo Veneziano: Fragments de polyptyques vénitiens du XIVe siècle, open until January 23 -- of 30-some paintings by this lesser-known painter of the 14th century. Most of them have never been shown in public before, although they are mostly owned by museums. Anne-Marie Romero reviewed the show (Lorenzo Veneziano, fils de Byzance et de Giotto, November 28) for Le Figaro (my translation and links added):
In the twilight of a long red room, the brightness of sumptuous gold and polychrome of some thirty unframed, primitive Italian paintings, works for the most part by a little-known master, Lorenzo Veneziano: that is how this exhibit is presented, in all finesse and refinement, with its choices thought out in great detail, as proposed by Philippe Le Leyzour, director of the Musée des beaux-arts de Tours, and Annie Gilet, curator at the museum. An original exhibit because, among the 30 paintings and small works on wood that have come from a dozen museums in France and abroad, most have never been shown to the public, like the 14 saints from the Musée Sainte-Croix de Poitiers, which have just been restored.This museum has no Web site, but another review by Didier Rykner (Autour de Lorenzo Veneziano. Fragments de polyptyques vénitiens du XIVe siècle, November 6) for La Tribune de l'Art has some beautiful images, which I have linked to above. The exhibit brings together, for the first time, all the known surviving fragments of the San Giacomo Maggiore altarpiece: the Coronation of the Virgin, Crucifixion, and Angel Concert owned by the museum in Tours, two fragments (Saints Bartholomew and Anthony) from Bologna, a Saint Leonard from Syracuse, a piece of the predella, depicting the Marriage of the Virgin, from Philadelphia. The Web Gallery of Art has a few images of works by Lorenzo Veneziano, including the fabulous Lion Polyptych now in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice. His later paintings are particularly striking, like the rather surreal Annunciation also at the Accademia and the opulent Madonna and Child in the Louvre, both from the 1370s.
"There are about fifty of Lorenzo Veneziano's works in the world," explains Annie Gilet, "and we are lucky to have four of them, including a major piece, a Coronation of the Virgin that was part of the polyptych of the church of San Giacomo Maggiore in Bologna, painted in 1368, and the Burial of John the Baptist, which we acquired last month from a gallery. [...] "Our museum," Mme Gilet continues, "was lucky to receive, in the 1940s, a donation by a Parisian painter, Octave Linet, who was from Tours and a devoted collector of medieval Italian art, who gave us the Coronation of the Virgin and other works by Lorenzo Veneziano.