ATTRIBUTED TO DANIELE RICCIARELLI, CALLED DA VOLTERRA | THE HOLY FAMILY WITH THE YOUNG SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST AND SAINT CHRISTINE
Estimate: 150,000 - 250,000 USD
ATTRIBUTED TO DANIELE RICCIARELLI, CALLED DA VOLTERRA
Volterra 1509 - 1566
THE HOLY FAMILY WITH THE YOUNG SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST AND SAINT CHRISTINE
oil on panel
56½ by 40½ in.; 143.5 by 102.9 cm.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
Although visually held back by an aged restoration, this painting has potential for substantial aesthetic improvement. Stylistic differences in the flesh passages seem be attributable to restoration, of which several campaigns exist. Retouching found throughout the painting addresses losses and what appears to be a combination of normal, age-related increased transparency of the paint and localized cleaning damage. The most recent campaign of retouching, including large portions of the dark background, is clearly visible under ultraviolet illumination, while older restoration beneath the highly fluorescing varnish, including some degree of retouching in the flesh passages, is more difficult to identify with certainty. Much of the restoration is concentrated in brown paints and in dark passages, including the background, the children's hair, and in Joseph's head. Elsewhere in the figures, losses and points of wear are numerous but generally small in size. The red paints have suffered losses in the shadows; here retouching has shifted in tone and does not adequately knit together wear. Cracks and lifting can be seen along the joins between the boards that make up the vertically grained wood panel support. Several repairs visible on the reverse, along with the degree of paint loss, suggest the panel is fairly responsive to changes in humidity and temperature. The non-original crossbars may be pulling away from the inset channels.
Unquestionably, the painting would benefit from cleaning. Freed of the old restorations and with a new restoration that carefully knits together wear and losses, the picture should take on a more balanced aspect and considerably improve in overall appearance. Structural work on the panel may be advisable to stabilize the support.
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By descent to Mr Huber, Frauenfeld, Switzerland;
Private collection, Leipzig, 1920 (according to Voss, see Literature);
Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 29 June 1962, lot 101, for $7056, to Kauffman;
Private collection, Zurich;
Anonymous sale ("The Property of a Gentleman), London, Christie's, 26 June 1964, lot 163, for $2353, to Chester;
Private collection, Dresden (according to Longhi 1964, see Literature);
Lucerne, Galerie Fischer, before January 1969;
Jean Zanchi, Lutry and Rome, by 1969.
H. Voss, Die Malerei der Spätrenaissance in Rom und Florenz, 2 vols, Berlin 1920, vol. I, p. 130, reproduced fig. 32 (as Daniele da Volterra);
M. L. Mez, "Daniele da Volterra," in Rassegna volterrana, VII, 1933, 1–2, p. 61, note 33 (as a copy);
A. Venturi, Storia dell'arte italiana, IX. La pittura del Cinquecento, part 6, Milan 1933, pp. 260–262 (as Daniele da Volterra);
M. L. Mez, "Daniele da Volterra pittore," in Bollettino d'Arte, XXVII, 1933–34, pp. 468–469;
S. H. Levie, Der Maler Daniele da Volterra 1509–1566, Cologne 1962, pp. 76-77, note 51 (as doubtful of the attribution from an old photo);
R. Longhi, "Due pannelli di Daniele da Volterra," in Paragone, XV, 1964, 179, p. 36 (as a copy);
F. Sricchia Santoro, "Daniele da Volterra," in Paragone, XVIII, November 1967, 213/33, p. 34, note 27 (as a copy);
P. Barolsky, Daniele da Volterra. A Catalogue Raisonné, New York and London 1979, p. 79 (as a copy);
D. Bodart, The Zanchi Collection, Rome 1985, pp. 335–36, cat. no. 460, reproduced in color p. 23 and p. 336 (as Daniele da Volterra and as the primary version);
H. Voss, La Pittura del Tardo Rinascimento: A Roma e a Firenze, Rome 1994, p. 100, reproduced fig. 32 (as Daniele da Volterra);
N. Turner, Italian Drawings in the Department of Prints and Drawings. Roman Baroque Drawings, c. 1620 to c. 1700, London 1999, vol. II, p. 221, under no. 346;
V. Romani, ed., Daniele da Volterra, Amico di Michelangelo, exhibition catalogue, Florence 2003, p. 96, under cat. no. 20, p. 148, under cat. no. 44, reproduced p. 148, fig. 93 (as Daniele da Volterra and workshop);
R.P. Ciardi and B. Moreschini, Daniele Ricciarelli. Da Volterra a Roma, Milan 2004, p. 223 (as a copy);
V. Romani, in The d'Elci paintings: Danielle da Volterra, Munich 2016, pp. 80, 85, note 53 (as a copy).
This large The Holy Family with the young Saint John the Baptist and Saint Christine closely relates to a painting by Daniele da Volterra recently acquired by the Uffizi Gallery, Florence (fig. 1).1 Of smaller dimensions, that version now in Florence, which was formerly in the Casa Ricciarelli in Volterra and then descended to the d’Elci collection in Siena, differs slightly in composition, for there is no figure of Saint Joseph in the upper left corner and Saint Barbara appears instead of Saint Christine at right. Another comparable but reduced copy of this composition is recorded in the Royal Palace in Genoa.2 Voss was among the first art historians to examine all three of these versions, preferring the present example as the prime because of its strength and energy,3 an argument later supported by Venturi and Bodart. Recent technical imaging of the present panel has revealed a delicate underdrawing and a very fine pouncing pattern used to layout the composition (fig. 3). This pouncing pattern matches up closely to that found in the Uffizi panel, suggesting that the same cartoon was used for both paintings. In the British Museum, London, there is a drawing of a Head of an Old Man, dated to the mid-1550s, which corresponds in size to the head of St Joseph in the upper left corner of this panel (fig. 2).4 The principal outlines have been incised with a stylus to transfer the design to the painting.
1. Oil on panel, 131.6 by 100.4 cm.
2. Oil on panel, 58 by 41 cm, Romani 2004, p. 148, reproduced fig. 94.
3. Dr. Herman Voss re-confirmed his opinion in a letter of expertise dated 21 March 1944.
4. 28 by 23.8 cm. Inv. no. Ff. I-20. See N. Turner, Italian Drawings in the Department of Prints and Drawings. Roman Baroque Drawings, c. 1620 to c. 1700, London 1999, vol. II, p. 221, no. 346.