Follower of Jacopo Carucci, called Pontormo, late 16th/early 17th Century
- Sacra Conversazione, with the Holy Family, Saints John the Baptist, John the Evangelist, Francis of Assisi and James the Greater
- oil on canvas
- 86 5/8 by 73 1/2 in; 220 by 186.2 cm.
By whom sold London, Christie's, 22 June 1895, lot 107 (as Pontormo, described as the original Pucci altarpiece);
Thence by descent to his son-in-law, Francis S. Macnalty;
By whose Estate sold, London, Christie's, 17 July 1970, lot 183 (as after Pontormo);
B. Berenson, The Drawings of the Florentine Painters, New York 1903, vol. 2, p. 139 (as the altarpiece formerly in S. Michele Visdomini and last heard of in the Doetsch collection);
S. Reinach, Répertoire de peintures du Moyen-âge et de la Renaissance, Paris 1910, vol. III, p. 348 (as Pontormo);
F. Goldschmidt, Pontormo, Rosso und Bronzino, Leipzig 1911, p. 45 (as the original Pucci altarpiece);
F.M. Clapp, Jacopo da Carucci da Pontormo, his life and work, New Haven 1916, pp. 126-128, 244, cat. no. 107 (as a copy after the Pucci altarpiece);
H. Voss, Die Malerei der Spätrenaissance in Rom und Florenz, Berlin 1920, vol. 1, pp. 165-166 (where described as the original Pucci altarpiece);
H. Voss, Painting of the Late Renaissance in Rome and Florence, Berlin 1920 (revised and translated by S. Pelzel, San Francisco 1997), vol. 1, pp. 137-138, reproduced fig. 47 (where described as the original Pucci altarpiece);
L. Berti, Pontormo, Florence 1964, p. XL (as a replica);
J. Cox-Rearick, The Drawings of Pontormo, Cambridge 1964, p. 123 (as a copy);
L. Berti, L'opera completa del Pontormo, Milan 1973, p. 94, under cat. no. 53 (as an old copy);
C. Wright, A Catalogue of the Old Master Paintings in the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. J.V. Feather at Bridley Manor, Surrey, 1974, pp. 7, 33-34, 37-38, cat. no. 8, reproduced fig. 8 overall, and three details (as Pontormo);
J. Cox-Rearick, The Drawings of Pontormo: A Catalogue Raisonné with Notes on the Paintings, Cambridge 1981, p. 123 (as a copy);
P. Costamagna, Pontormo, Milan 1994, p. 137, cat. no. 24.1 (as a copy after the Pucci altarpiece dating to the late 16th century).
The circumstances of how or why this full-scale replica was produced are not known. Possibly the artist had access to a cartoon, though there is no evidence that one ever existed for the original, the underdrawing of which shows a very free design and numerous revisions that Pontormo himself made (such as the contrapposto pose of the Virgin).3 Infra-red reflectography of the present painting reveals working changes by the artist, such as the positioning of the heads of Saints John the Baptist, Francis and James, and the foot of the Christ Child. Most interestingly, the underdrawing reveals that the putto’s head at upper right was, at one stage, drawn looking down towards the Holy Family and then later corrected to face upwards as in the original (fig. 1).
1. See Giorgio Vasari, Le Vite de’ più eccellenti architetti, pittori, scultori, et architettori…, 1568, trans. by G. du C. de Vere, New York 1996, vol. 2, p. 349.
2. See catalogue of the exhibition, Florence, Palazzo Strozzi, 8 March-20 July 2014, p. 78, Cat. no. II.2., reproduced p. 79.
3. Ibid., p. 78.