The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, email@example.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
This large picture has not been restored for many years. It is significantly dull, dirty and in need of attention. The most noticeable structural damage is a complex tear beginning in the hair of the Madonna that runs upwards and across into the feet of the putti in the upper left. There are other visible losses in the chest of Christ, in the gown of the kneeling woman in the lower center, around the edges and along the right side. There is another long structural damage about 16 inches from the top edge that begins in the putti in the upper center and runs horizontally towards the right side.
However, the condition does seem to be reasonably good. Although there have been losses, the paint layer is healthy and seems to show little abrasion. If the work were cleaned, it is possible that the lining can remain if it is reactivated in some areas. The texture of the paint layer is very attractive and it would be a shame to interfere with this. There is great quality and character to all areas of the figures, and careful restoration should have impressive results.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."
Presumably commissioned from the artist along with another painting of the Assumption of the Virgin by Anna Colonna, wife of Principe Taddeo Barberini, the founder of the Church of Regina Coeli, Rome (see catalogue note).
F. Titi, B. Contardi and S. Romano (eds.), Studio di Pittura, Scoltura et Architettura, nelle Chiese di Roma, Florence 1987, vol. 1, p. 21 ("Il Transito di S. Anna con quantità di Figure nel Quadro dell'Altare incontro è bella e diligente opera di Fabrito Chiari").
We are grateful to Professor Claudio Strinati for attributing this altarpiece to Fabrizio Chiari and identifying it as the one recorded in the Church of Regina Coeli. The church and attached convent were destroyed circa 1880 in order to make way for a large prison. The works housed in the church, including other pictures by Chiari, appear to have been dispersed at that time.
Fabrizio Chiari was an artist of some note in Rome in the 17th century, although he has been relatively overlooked by modern scholars. He was allegedly an autodidact, though his early style certainly shows the influence of Poussin. He was awarded a number of important fresco commissions and painted the Reconciliation of Jacob and Esau while working under Pietro da Cortona on the cycle of frescoes decorating the Sala Gialla in the Palazzo del Quirinale. Later in his career he painted a Chariot of Apollo for the ceiling of the Sala dei Specchi in the Palazzo Altieri, Rome.