The central scene, showing The Guardian Angel, is probably by Guillaume Courtois, called Guglielmo Cortese (St. Hippolyte 1628 - 1679 Rome). Courtois came to Rome in 1638 and is known to have collaborated with Brueghel on numerous still lifes from the 1660s and '70s prior to Courtois' death; see, for example, that sold in Milan, Sotheby's, 30 November 2004, lot 126. The central scene is inspired by Pietro da Cortona's painting of the same subject in the Galleria Nazionale, Rome (reproduced in colour in A. Lo Bianco, in Pietro da Cortona 1597-1669, exh. cat., Rome, Palazzo Venezia, 31 October 1997 - 10 February 1998, pp. 372-3, cat. no. 56). That painting was executed in 1655 and completed and paid for in 1656, the year in which Courtois is thought to have begun working under Cortona in Rome.
We are grateful to Fred G. Meijer for first having proposed an attribution to Abraham Brueghel, on the basis of photographs.
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