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Giovanni Battista Salvi, il Sassoferrato (Sassoferrato 1609-1685 Rome)
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Giovanni Battista Salvi, il Sassoferrato (Sassoferrato 1609-1685 Rome)

The Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist and Saint Elizabeth

Details
Giovanni Battista Salvi, il Sassoferrato (Sassoferrato 1609-1685 Rome)
The Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist and Saint Elizabeth
oil on canvas
25¼ x 18½ in. (64.2 x 47 cm.)
Provenance
(Possibly) Lucien Bonaparte, Prince of Canino (1775-1840), no. 145 in his collection; with a part of whose collection imported to England and offered for sale in London from 6 February 1815 by William Buchanan, No. 60 Pall Mall, cat. no. 145, but unsold; sale George Stanley, London, 14-16 May 1816, lot 137, 'The Holy Family. The design is evidently after Raffaelle; but the mode of pencilling, and the rich glow of colour, are his own. This may be adduced as one of the best Specimens of his Works' (sold £63 to an unknown buyer).
J.B.S. Coates, Esq.
Anon. Sale, Christie's, London, 1 August 1974, lot 102.
with Brian Koetser, London, 1975.
Literature
(Possibly) Choix des gravures à l'eau forte, d'après les peintures originales et les marbres de la galerie de Lucien Bonaparte, London, 1812, no. 33.
(Possibly) W. Buchanan, Memoirs of Painting, with a Chronological History of the Importation of Pictures by the Great Masters into England since the French Revolution, II, London, 1824, p. 292, no. 145.
F. Russell, 'Sassoferrato and his Sources: A Study of Seicento Allegiance', Burlington Magazine, 119, 1977, pp. 694-700, illustrated.
(Possibly) B. Edelein-Badie, La Collection des Tableaux de Lucien Bonaparte, prince de Canino, Lille, 1992, II, p. 432, no. 232.
M. Natoli, ed., Luciano Bonaparte, le sue collezioni d'arte le sue residenze a Roma, nel Lazio, in Italia (1804-1840), Rome, 1995, pp. 297, 313 and 327, no. 58, noting the incorrect measurements, see note below.
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Lot Essay

The composition is taken from Raphael's Canigiani Holy Family in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich, which Sassoferrato probably saw in Florence. A squared preparatory drawing is in the Royal Collection at Windsor (see A. Blunt and H.L. Cooke, The Roman Drawings of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle, 1960, p. 104, no. 892).

Sassoferrato's exceptional interest in seicento painters and the many copies and pastiches he made after earlier compositions, is discussed by Russell, loc.cit.. In addition to the present picture, he is known to have copied several other of Raphael's Madonna compositions. For instance, a derivation from Raphael's Madonna of the Pink (Duke of Northumberland, on loan to the National Gallery, London) is in the Detroit Art Institute; a copy of the Garvagh Madonna is in the Louvre; a pastiche of the Madonna della Sedia is in the Ringling Museum, Sarasota; a picture based on the Madonna di Foligno is in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; and derivations of the Madonna of the Tower are known in the Vatican, formerly at Downton, and at Burghley.

A brother of Napoleon I, Lucien formed a collection of Old Masters and modern paintings that was one of the most famous of the nineteenth century. Unlike his uncle, Cardinal Fesch, whom he accused of 'picture mania', Lucien limited the number of paintings in his collection, and chose them with care. Amongst pictures formerly in his collection are such works as Velazquez's Lady with a Fan (London, Wallace Collection), Titian's Allegory of Prudence, Lotto's Family Group, Honthorst's Christ before the High Priest (all London, National Gallery), Bronzino's Portrait of a Young Man (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art), Luini's Mary Magdalene (Washington, D.C.) and David's Belisarius begging Alms (Paris, Louvre). The measurements of the picture in Stanley's sale differ from those of the present work, but it is nonetheless possible that they are one and the same, given the frequent vagaries of nineteenth-century cataloguing.
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