Loro Ciuffenna before 1510 (?) - 1574 Florence
MADONNA AND CHILD WITH THE INFANT SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST
oil on panel
45¼ by 34½ in.; 114.9 by 87.6 cm.
Panel appears to consist of two boards with a vertical join that runs through Saint John's face and body until reaching the bottom edge. The colors remain vibrant and a decorative image reads well. Inspection under UV shows retouchings scattered in the faces and bodies of the figures. The landscape remains well preserved. Painting can hang as is. Offered in a giltwood frame.
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Carlo Portelli trained under Ridolfo Ghirlandaio and worked as a draughtsman and painter in Florence. His style is closely linked to other Mannerist painters including Pontormo, Bronzino and Francesco Salviati; he worked with the latter on the decorations for the wedding of Cosimo de' Medici to Elenora de Toledo in 1539.
Certain motifs in this painting, such as the sheer fabric that rests on the Christ child's arm, his exaggerated pose, and the animal skin the infant Saint John wears, are repeated in other autograph paintings like Portelli's panel in the Musée Municipal Paul Dini, Villefranche-sur-Saône.1 The ornate hairstyle of the Madonna and the depth created by the landscape in the background stylistically connect this work to Portelli's painting from 1545-1550 in the Collezione Banca Popolare di Vicenza.2
We are grateful to Dr. Carlo Falciani for endorsing the attribution to Carlo Portelli after first-hand inspection.
1. Oil on panel, 92 by 71.5 cm., inv. no. 1975.47. See L. Brunori and A. Cecchi, Carlo Portelli, Pittore eccentrico tra Rosso Fiorentino e Vasari, exhibition catalogue, Florence 2015, pp. 140–45, cat. no. 18, reproduced p. 141.
2. Oil on panel, 102 by 75 cm. Ibid., pp. 148-49, cat. no. 20, reproduced.