This Madonna and Child has traditionally been attributed to Bernardino Mei, who probably trained in Siena in the workshop of Raffaello Vanni before moving to Rome, where he was inspired by contemporary Roman artists and the sculpture of Bernini. However, the canvas has since been identified by Dr. Marco Ciampolini as part of the oeuvre of Rutilio Manetti and his studio (written communication, 15 September 2016), to which Dr. Ciampolini has devoted a chapter in his Pittori Senesi del Seicento (Siena, 2010). In his opinion, the present work is the collaborative effort of more than one artist, one of whom he identifies as the elderly Rutilio Manetti, another of whom remains anonymous but may have been Bernardino Mei. A smaller version of this composition of an inferior quality was offered at Cambi, Milan, on 2 December 2013, lot 316, when it was attributed to Domenico Manetti.
This picture was once housed in the magnificent Norman cathedral at Ely, Cambridgeshire. We are grateful to Dr. Marco Ciampolini for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.