The Meeting of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba; Cherub Holding Cornucopias of Cherries (recto and verso)
Third quarter of the 15th century
Attributed to Francesco del Cossa (Italian (Ferrarese), about 1436–about 1478 Italian (Ferrarese))
61 x 61 cm (24 x 24 in.)
Medium or Technique
Tempera and oil on panel
Italian Renaissance Gallery E (Gallery 219)
Wooden trays, usually painted on both sides, were often commissioned to mark a child's birth and herald future prosperity. Although the meeting of Solomon and the queen of Sheba had no romantic outcome, both were renowned for their wealth and exchanged lavish gifts when they met. This scene, which emphasizes ornate architecture and lithe figures in courtly costumes, contrasts with the cruder execution, perhaps by an assistant, of the image on the back. The reverse depicts a cherub holding two cornucopias, which represent abundance, and wearing a necklace of coral to ensure good fortune, protection from evil, and fertility.
By 1889, E. Secrétan (d. 1899), Paris; July 1, 1889, Secrétan sale, Galerie Sedelmeyer, Paris, lot 183. By 1894, Count Chabrières-Arlès, Paris [see note 1]. By 1917, Kleinberger Galleries, New York; 1917, sold by Kleinberger to Mrs. Walter Scott Fitz (Henrietta Goddard Wigglesworth) (b. 1847 - d. 1927), Boston; 1917, gift of Mrs. Walter Scott Fitz to the MFA [see note 2]. (Accession Date: February 15, 1917) NOTES:  E. Müntz, "Les plateaux d'accouchées et la peinture sur meubles du IVe au XVIe siècle," Monuments et mémoires 1 (1894), p. 221, first published the painting as being in the Chabrières-Arlès collection. How and when it was acquired is not known.  Accessioned as a work of art attributed to Giovanni Boccati da Camerino.
Gift of Mrs. W. Scott Fitz