Giovanni Battista Salvi, called Sassoferrato
- Giovanni Battista Salvi, called Sassoferrato
- The Madonna at prayer
- oil on canvas, in a Charles II carved and gilt wood frame with cherubs and foliate motifs
(Probably) Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 2 May 1874, lot 87 ('Sasso Ferrato, The Madonna, with her hands clasped in prayer'), for 50 guineas;
G. Jacobson Esq., by whom sold through Martin H. Colnaghi to Henry C. Leigh Bennett, Thorpe Place, Chertsey, in December 1880 (according to a label on the reverse);
Thence by descent (though moved from Thorpe Place after its sale in the 1920s or '30s).
Although characteristic of the paintings of Madonnas for which Sassoferrato became famous, this is the only known version of this composition and is therefore an exciting addition to the artist's oeuvre.
We are grateful to Prof. François Macé de Lépinay for endorsing the attribution to Sassoferrato after first-hand inspection of the painting. He has suggested that the Madonna may represent the Virgin Annunciate and may once have had a pendant showing the Archangel Gabriel, as is the case for the two paintings in the Pinacoteca Comunale in Cesena (see F. Macé de Lépinay, in Giovan Battista Salvi "Il Sassoferrato", exhibition catalogue, Sassoferrato, 29 June - 14 October 1990, p. 56, cat. no. 9, and pp. 58-59, cat. no. 11, both reproduced, the latter in colour).