This charming Holy Family is demonstrative of Sassoferrato's quietly elegant, sober, and classical style in both composition and coloration. On the left the Virgin, eyes modestly downcast, is dressed in a characteristic scarlet gown, teal robe, and white veil. The Christ Child, cradled in her arms and partially wrapped in her veil, is seated on a red velvet cushion with gold tassels. Clinging to his mother, he makes the sign of the blessing over St. Joseph, who receives the benediction.
There are several known versions of this composition, either by Sassoferrato or by his studio. One, in an oval format, is in the collection of the Musée Condé, Chantilly. Another is in the collection of Mrs. James E. Abbott, Canadaigua, New York; and a third version was sold at Christie's London as 'Carlo Maratta' (30 May 1930, lot 96).
We are grateful to M. François Macé de Lépinay for confirming the attribution on the basis of photographs, stating that it is most likely a version by the hand of the artist with 'slight abrasions and light retouching' (written communication, 26 January 2006).