- Museum number
The Holy Family in a landscape; with the Christ Child at centre seated on a plinth, flanked by the Virgin and St Joseph stepping on a classical sculpture (allegory of the triumph of Christianity over paganism)
Pen and brown ink, grey wash, over black chalk, squared for transfer
- Production date
- 1695 (circa)
Height: 310 millimetres
Width: 236 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Subsequent to the publication of the 1999 Roman Baroque catalogue the related painting on copper has been published in Francesco Petrucci's monograph, his no. D64, illustrated in colour on p. 341. The copper in a Milanese private collection is dated to around 1695 likely belonged, along with a pendant 'Virgin and Child with St Anne and the Infant Baptist (D63), to cardinal Pietro Ottoboni. As Petrucci noted the subject is more than a Holy Family as Christ's placement on a classical plinth, and the fallen classical sculture that adorned it on which St Joseph is standing, allude to the Christain triumph over paganism following his death and resurrection. The picture follows the drawn design closely, the major differences relate to the pose of St Joseph.
Lit.: J.C. Robinson, 'Descriptive Catalogue of Drawings by the Old Masters, forming the Collection of John Malcolm of Poltalloch, Esq.', London, 1876, no. 228; N. Turner, 'Italian Baroque Drawings', London, 1980, no. 34; N. Turner, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Roman Baroque Drawings', London, 1999, I, no. 113; F. Petrucci, 'Baciccio, Giovanni Battista Gaulli 1639-1709', Rome, 2009, no. D64.1, p. 615
The squaring suggests that a picture of this subject once existed, though no such work appears to have survived. The Christ Child, who is seen in the centre of the composition between the Virgin and St Joseph, triumphs over pagan religion. He is seated on a pedestal from which an antique statue has fallen to the ground to the right; to the left, at the feet of the Virgin, is an upturned pagan tripod or altar. Graf (1976) pointed out that a variant of the composition is recorded in a copy which, in 1973, was with the Dominion Gallery, Montreal.
A pen-and-wash study for the figure of Christ, also squared for transfer in black chalk, is at Düsseldorf, which Graf dates in the 1680s (Graf, 1976, no. 446).
Literature: Robinson, 1869, p. 91, no. 218; Robinson, 1876, p.87, no.228; Brugnoli, 1956, p.32, n. 1; Graf, 1974, p.46, n.29; Graf, 1976, I, p. 143, under no.446, and II, fig. 792; Turner, 1980, p. 86, no. 34.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number