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THE PROPERTY OF A LADY
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Professor Daniele Benati, judging from a transparency, considers the present picture to be by the same hand as a 'Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine with the infant Saint John the Baptist' in the Pinacoteca at Budrio and an 'Annunciation' in a Bolognese private collection. He feels that all three may be early works by Agostino Carracci and suggests a date of circa 1581 for the present painting, comparing the face of the Madonna with the 'Santine' engravings (D. DeGrazia Bohlin, Prints and related Drawings by the Carracci Family. A Catalogue Raisonné, 1979, pp.145-7, nos.50-3). Such a dating would make these pictures much the earliest known paintings by Agostino, his earliest known dated picture being the 'Madonna and Child with Saints' (also including Cecilia) of 1586 in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Parma.

A variety of influences are apparent in the picture, notably that of Veronese in the head of the Christ Child, and there are stylistic similarities with the work of Agostino's contemporary Giovanni Battista Trotti, il Malosso (see, for instance, his altarpiece at Brusuglio; I Campi. Cultura artistica cremonese del Cinquecento, 1985, p.248, no.1.29.11, illustrated). The pose of Saint Cecilia may have been inspired by that of Saint Catherine in the altarpiece by Giovan Francesco Surchi, il Dielaì, in Ferrara Cathedral (G. Frabetti, Manieristi a Ferrara, 1972, p.45, no.21, and colour pl.III).

The present picture was formerly attributed to Marten de Vos
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