Professoressa Donatella Biagi Maino, to whom we are grateful for endorsing the attribution on the basis of a digital image, praises the high quality of the present work and suggests that it is a reduced, autograph repetition of the Molinari Pradelli canvas and is unlikely to be a bozzetto. She notes that the level of finish and dimensions surpass most preparatory works by Gandolfi, such as, for example, the oval canvas depicting the Annunciation sold in these Rooms, 4 July 2007, lot 58, and should thus instead be considered a finished second version of the Molinari Pradelli work.
A small canvas of the same subject by Gandolfi, also in the Molinari Pradelli collection, has long been considered the bozzetto for the larger work.2 While the spirit of the design and the general layout are absolutely consonant, there are many changes in the details of the disposition of the figures. Before the bozzetto was relined, an inscription on the back of the canvas was visible describing how in 1788 Gandolfi gave the work to his pupil Lussorio Bracci Cambini.
1 148 x 114 cm.; D. Biagi Maino, Gaetano Gandolfi, Turin 1995, p. 393, cat. no. 181, reproduced fig. 206.
2 45.3 x 31 cm.; Biagi Maino 1995, p. 393, cat. no. 180, reproduced fig. 205.
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