- Museum number
The Virgin and Child seated with St Joseph behind at right; a putto supporting drapery at left.
Pen and brown ink
- Production date
Height: 244 millimetres
Width: 193 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The attribution of this drawing has, like many works by the Carracci, oscillated between Annibale and his brother Agostino. Traditionally given to the former it was first pointed out by Posner that it relates to a small painting (40 x 31 cm.) of the Holy Family in the Palazzo Durazzo Pallavicini, Genoa. The latter work was in the past given to Annibale, an attribution rejected by Posner in favour of Agostino. Posner thought that Agostino based on the composition on the present study which he maintained was by Annibale. Angelo Mazza in the entry on the Genoa painting noted that Alessandro Brogi thought that the BM drawing was, like the painting, by Agostino; a view upheld by Aidan Weston-Lewis. The painting differs from the drawing in a number of respects, with the poses of the Virgin and Child altered and the positions of the putto and Saint Joseph reversed. Despite these changes, the BM drawing is quite clearly a study for the painting for they share the motif of the putto holding up a large knot of material from the curtain, and the attitude of the Christ Child clambering up his mother and looking outwards is very similar. The attribution to Agostino is consistent with the emphatic, somewhat dry penwork of the drawing, and it appears more logical that he would have made a study for his own painting rather than relying on a pre-existing design by Annibale. Posner observed the composition of the study is inspired by Raphael's 'Madonna della Sedia' tondo in the Galleria Pitti, Florence, with the addition of the putto taken from the same painter's fresco of Isaiah in the church of Sant'Agostino, Rome. The connection with Raphael is in keeping with the tastes of both Carracci brothers - Agostino's admiration for his work is also apparent from his 'Holy Family' engraving dated 1597 (Bartsch XVIII.63.43). The Genoa painting was dated by Mazza to the last years of the 16thc. when Agostino was in Rome, and the present study must be from the same period.
The drawing was copied by Giuseppe Passeri when it was in Padre Resta's collection, D. Graf, 'Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf die Handzeichnungen des Giuseppe Passeri', Düsseldorf, 1995, I, no. 1308, II, fig. 1780. It was also engraved by Pond, in reverse, in 1735 when it was in Mead's collection (U,1.226, 1936,1116.2126.28 and 1977,U.441).
Lit.: J.D. Passavant, 'Tour of a German Artist in England', London, 1836, (translation from the original German ed. published in Frankfurt, 1833), II, p. 108 (as Annibale Carracci); D. Posner, 'Annibale Carracci, a Study in the Reform of Italian Painting around 1590', London, 1971, I, pp. 84 and 166, n. 47, fig. 76 (as Annibale Carracci); A. Mazza, in 'Il Palazzo Durazzo Pallavicini', Bologna, 1995, under no. 183, p. 326; J. Wood, 'Padre Resta as a collector of Carracci Drawings', "Master Drawings", XXXIV, I, 1996, n. 251, fig. 38 (as Annibale Carracci)
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1978, BM, Gainsborough and Reynolds in the BM, no 249
2014-5 Sep-Jan, London, Foundling Museum, 'Dr Mead'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number