National Geographic : 1961 Dec
NEROCCIO DE' LANDI (1447-1500) Sienese This long, narrow panel may have decorated a cassone, Renaissance equivalent of the bridalhope chest. The painting closely follows Plutarch's story of Cleo patra's arrival by galley on the River Cydnus in southern Turkey: "She herself lay all alone under a canopy of cloth of gold, dressed as Venus in a picture, and of San Francisco kneeling before the Saviour on the Cross (page 854). Dr. Heil saw it as the ideal choice for the city's Kress Collection. Unfortunately the El Greco was not among the Kress Foundation's properties. Dr. Heil knew that the El Greco was in the hands of a New York dealer, bearing a price tag that put it far beyond the reach of the San Fran cisco museum. To help Dr. Heil create his National Gal lery in miniature, the Foundation purchased the St. Francis. It also bought Dr. Heil's per sonal favorite, "Young Mother," by Pieter de Hooch. San Francisco recently added three gal leries to the de Young Museum to house its 39 Kress Collection paintings. These works, assembled during five years of planning and research, encompass the major European schools from the 14th to early 19th century. They range from "A Crowned Virgin Martyr," 832 painted about 1334 by the Florentine, Ber nardo Daddi, to a portrait, "Don Ram6n de Posada y Soto," painted in 1801 by Spain's great Francisco de Goya y Lucientes. For the National Gallery show the de Young Museum is sending nine paintings, including the El Greco "St. Francis" and de Hooch's warm, glowing "Young Mother," regarded by Dr. Heil as representing per fectly the golden age of Dutch painting (page 853). Bonanza Waits in Washington Kress donations sometimes descend upon museum directors like bolts from the blue. Such an experience befell Richard F. How ard, of Birmingham, Alabama. Ten years ago Mr. Howard set off on a tour of museums to borrow paintings for his opening exhibi tion. Between planes at Toledo, Ohio, Mr. Howard heard himself being paged.