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RUTILIO MANETTI | THE VIRGIN AND CHILD WITH SAINT MICHAEL

RUTILIO MANETTI | THE VIRGIN AND CHILD WITH SAINT MICHAEL

RUTILIO MANETTI | THE VIRGIN AND CHILD WITH SAINT MICHAEL

RUTILIO MANETTI

Siena 1571-1639

THE VIRGIN AND CHILD WITH SAINT MICHAEL


oil on canvas

39¾ by 30¼ in.; 101 by 77 cm.


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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, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.


This painting is in very good condition. The retouches are visible under ultraviolet light. They are applied around all four edges, entering the picture about half an inch. The retouches are very limited in the picture proper. There are none in the face of the Madonna. There are four spots of retouching in her hair beneath the halo. A few thin cracks in the face of the Child have been retouched. Some weakness in the shadow beneath his neck has been retouched. There is a spot of retouching in the calf of the Child's right leg. There are a few small spots of retouching in the neck of the figure on the left. There are a few other small retouches in the shadow beneath his helmet in his hair and forehead. The work should be hung in its current state.


"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." 

Private collection, Rome, by 1975;

Private collection, Vienna, until 2007; 

Anonymous sale, Zurich, Koller, 21 September 2007, lot 3042 ($374,493);

Where acquired.

F. Todini, "Rutilio Manetti: note in margine a una mostra," in Paragone, vol. XXX, January 1979, pp. 64-72, reproduced fig. 50;

M. Ciampolini, Pittori senesi del Seicento, vol. I, Siena 2010, pp. 291-2.

Manetti is considered one of the most important seventeenth-century Sienese artists, and the present painting reflects the maturation of his individual style. After training with Mannerist painters Francesco Vanni (1563 - 1610) and Ventura Salimbeni (1568 - 1613), Manetti turned to dramatic chiaroscuro and intense naturalism in the 1620s. He may have traveled to Rome and Bologna where he would have seen Caravaggio's work firsthand, as well as paintings by the Gentileschi, Guercino, Lanfranco, and Manfredi. Filippo Todini places this painting in a series of woks from the 1620s featuring figures in profile.1 In Dido and Aeneas (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Aeneas wears a helmet similar to St. Michael's, and the drapery folds in Dido's costume resemble those on the Virgin's clothing.2


The Virgin holds the Christ child in her arms as he offers scales to St. Michael who wears an elaborate helmet topped with feathers. This armored figure has also been identified as St. Crescenzio, a patron saint of Siena, Manetti's home city. St. Crecscenzio was a child martyr whose relics were translated to Siena in the 11th century. Still another suggestion has been the similarly-named St. Crescentinus, the warrior patron saint of Urbino. However, the combination of armor and scales for weighing souls makes St. Michael the most likely identity of this figure. The playful expression of the infant Christ makes the scales seem like a child's toy, which lends tenderness to the serious connotation of the scales, that of the soul's fate after death.


1. See F. Todini (Literature), p. 68.

2. See S. Schaefer and P. Fusco, European Painting and Sculpture in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art: an Illustrated Summary Catalogue, Los Angeles 1987, p. 63, reproduced. Manetti, Dido and Aeneas, circa 1630, oil on canvas, 57 1/2 by 46 1/4 in. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Anonymous gift in honor of The Ahmanson Foundation, M.81.199.