MICHELE TOSINI, CALLED MICHELE DI RIDOLFO DEL GHIRLANDAIO
Florence 1503 - 1577
PIETÀ WITH TWO ANGELS
oil on panel
35¾ by 25⅜ in.; 90.8 by 64.4 cm.
The panel has a slight vertical undulation, though that are two battens on the reverse keeping it stable. The image reads well with some craquelure visible throughout. There is a crack to the surface of the paint that runs vertically from the top edge for about 6 inches at upper left. Some minor vertical cracks in the panel of about 4 inches are at bottom center. Inspection under UV shows some fine inpainting addressing the craquelure, like on the exposed skin of the figures. Painting is offered in a giltwood frame.
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Private collection, Europe.
This painting by Michele Tosini is inspired by Michelangelo's drawing of the Pietà for Vittoria Colonna now in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.1 Although it is not certain if Michelangelo ever made a painted version of the composition, other artists such as Francesco Brini, Ludovico Buti, Lavinia Fontana, and Tosini did.
The theatrical gestures of the figures, as well as the intensity of the colors, place this work later in Tosini's career. Tosini often produced multiple variants of a single composition, and there is a larger autographed version of this painting in the Museo Civico Ala Ponzone, Cremona.2
We are grateful to Carlo Falciani for endorsing the attribution to Michele Tosini after first-hand inspection.
1. Black chalk on paper, 28.9 by 18.9 cm., inv. no. 1.2.o.16. See https://www.gardnermuseum.org/experience/collection/10775.
2. Oil on panel, 95 by 73 cm., inv. no. 184. See M. Marubbi (ed.), La Pinacoteca Ala Ponzone: Il Cinquecento, exhibition catalogue, Cinisello Balsamo and Cremona 2003, pp. 104-5 cat. no. 68, reproduced.