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Orazio Gentileschi

(1563 -  1639 ) Wikipedia® : Orazio Gentileschi
GENTILESCHI Orazio La Hija De Faraón Sacando A Moyses Del Nilo De Pablo Veronés

Subastas Segre
Mar 28, 2017
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Artworks in Arcadja

Some works of Orazio Gentileschi

Extracted between 59 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Orazio Gentileschi - Head Of A Woman

Orazio Gentileschi - Head Of A Woman

Original -


Gross Price
Lot number: 38
Orazio Gentileschi


PISA 1563 - 1639 LONDON

oil on panel 16 1/2 by 14 3/8 in.; 42 by 37 cm.


Acquired by King Charles I of England, Whitehall Palace, London, by 1636, (recorded in his 1636/37 inventory); His estate, Saint James' Palace, London (recorded in the 1649/51 inventory); Robert Houghton and the Third Dividend, by 1651/52; With Agnew's, London, by 1930; Harry Eustace Marsland Benn (1902-1987), Ilkley, by 1951 and until 1981; With Agnew's, London, by 1988; From whom acquired by an American private collector in 1989.


London, Royal Academy of Arts, Exhibition of Italian Art, 1200-1900, 1 January - 8 March 1930, no. 733; Milan, Palazzo Reale, Mostra del Caravaggio e dei caravaggeschi, April - June 1951, no. 114; London, National Gallery; Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao; Madrid, Museo del Prado, Orazio Gentileschi and the Court of Charles I, 3 March - 20 November 1999, no 10; Rome, Museo di Palazzo Venezia; New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Saint Louis, The Saint Louis Museum of Art, Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi, 15 October 2001 - 15 September 2002, no. 50.
Orazio Gentileschi - Danaë

Orazio Gentileschi - Danaë



Gross Price
Lot number: 41
Orazio Gentileschi

PISA 1563 - 1639 LONDON


oil on canvas

63 ½ by 89 ¼ in.; 161.3 by 226.7 cm.

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Saleroom Notice


Commissioned in 1621 by Giovanni Antonio Sauli, Genoa;

By descent and inheritance in the family;

Thomas P. Grange, London, by 1975;

By whom sold in 1977 to Richard L. Feigen;

By whom sold on 2 October 1998 to a family trust, the present consignor.


New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 14 February - 12 May 2002, no. 36;

Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum, Orazio Gentileschi in Genoa: Paintings for the Palazzo Sauli, 1 October, 2002- 12 January, 2003;

New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery, Italian Paintings from the Richard L. Feigen Collection, 28 May - 12 September, 2010, no. 47;

New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, on loan, 2013-2015.


R. Soprani, Vite de\’\’\’\’ pittori, scultori ed architetti genovesi, Genoa 1674, p. 317;

R. Soprani, C.G. Ratti (ed.), Le vite de\’\’\’\’ pittori, scultori ed architetti genovesi, Genoa 1768, vol. I, p. 452;

C.G. Ratti, Instruzione di quanto puo vedersi di più bello in Genova, Genoa 1780, p. 112;

A. da Morrona, Pisa illustrata nelle arti del disegno, Livorno 1812, vol. II, p. 258;

W. Suida, Genua, Leipzig 1906, p. 156;

H. Voss, Die Malerei des Barock in Rom, Berlin 1925, p. 460;

A. Moir, The Italian Followers of Caravaggio, Cambridge, MA, 1967, vol. I, p. 197, note 4, and vol. II, p. 78, cat. no. 3;

R. Ward Bissell, \“Orazio Gentileschi and the Theme of Lot and His daughters,\” in Bulletin of the National Gallery of Canada, 14, 1969, pp. 20, 30-31;

E. Poleggi and F. Caraceni Poleggi (eds), Descrizione della città di Genova da un anonimo del 1818, Genoa 1974, p. 79;

B. Nicolson, The International Caravaggesque Movement, Oxford 1979, pp. 51-52;

R. Ward Bissell, Orazio Gentileschi and the Poetic Tradition in Caravaggesque Painting, University Park, PA and London 1981, pp. 176-7, cat. no. 49, reproduced figs 108 and 110, and pp. 44, 45-46, 49;

Cleveland Museum of Art, Catalogue of Paintings, part 3, European Paintings of the 16th, 17th and 18th Centuries, Cleveland 1982, pp. 346-47;

B. Nicolson, "Orazio Gentileschi and Giovanni Antonio Sauli," in Artibus et historiae, 6, no. 12, 1985, pp. 9-25;

B. Nicolson, (L. Vertova ed.), Caravaggism in Europe, Milan 1989, vol. I, p. 112, reproduced vol. II, fig. 215 (with incorrect measurements);

J.W. Mann, "The Gentileschi Danaë in the Saint Louis Art Museum, Orazio or Artemisia?" in Apollo, 143, no. 412, June 1996, p. 41;

S.J. Barnes et al., Van Dyck a Genova: Grande pittura e collezionismo, exhibition catalogue, Milan 1997, p. 160, under cat. no. 5, reproduced;

R. Ward Bissell, Artemisia Gentileschi and the Authority of Art, University Park, PA, 1999, pp. 6-7, 49-50, reproduced fig. 107;

K. Christiansen and J.W. Mann, Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi, exhibition catalogue, New York 2001, pp. 178-80, cat. no. 35, reproduced in color, and pp. 21-23, 30, 166, 172-3, 193-4;

M Leonard, N. Khandekar and D Carr, "Amber Varnish and Orazio Gentileschi's Lot and His Daughters," in The Burlington Magazine, 143, January 2001, pp. 4-10, reproduced p. 6, fig. 2;

M. Cataldi Gallo, "The Sauli Collection: Two Unpublished Letters and a Portrait by Orazio Gentileschi," in The Burlington Magazine, 145, May 2003, pp. 349-51, reproduced p. 349, fig. 15;

L. Kanter and J. Marciari, Italian Paintings from the Richard L. Feigen Collection, exhibition catalogue, Yale 2010, pp. 152-6, cat. no. 47, reproduced in color p. 153, pp. vii;

K. Christiansen, \“Orazio Gentileschi,\” in A. Zuccari (ed.), I Caravaggeschi, Percorsi e protagonisti, Milan 2010, vol. II, p. 433, reproduced in color p. 429, fig. 10;

A. Leonardi, Genoese Way of Life, Vivere da collezionisti tra Seiciento e Settecento, Rome 2013, p. 46.

Catalogue Note
Orazio Gentileschi\’\’\’\’s majestic Danaë is one of the finest masterpieces of the Italian seventeenth century and the most important Baroque painting to come to the market in living memory. Commissioned in 1621 by the nobleman Giovanni Antonio Sauli for his palazzo in Genoa, the painting remained in the family until the twentieth century. The Sauli series was amongst the most important commissions Orazio received, and includes a Penitent Magdalene (fig. 1), in a New York private collection, and a Lot and his Daughters (fig. 2), in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.
The sensuality and splendor of the Danaë draw together the Caravaggesque naturalism prevalent in early seventeenth-century Italy with the refinement and color which mark the mature style of Gentileschi, one of the most elegant and individual figures of the Italian Baroque.
As Cupid pulls back the luxuriant dark green curtain, allowing Jupiter to enter in the guise of a shower of gold, Danaë lies on her bed awaiting her fate in an expanse of white and gold which is punctuated by a red mattress, and we too are invited to peer into the narrative of eroticism and seduction. The artist\’\’\’\’s restraint and grace, however, mean the scene does not spill into the vulgar and Orazio\’\’\’\’s Danaë, the lower half of her body turned away from the approaching gold, remains a chaste figure accepting of her inescapable destiny. This is quite unlike Titian\’\’\’\’s sexual and consenting Danaë in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples, which Orazio would have known from his time in Rome when it hung in the Palazzo Farnese.
Gentileschi seamlessly blends the movement and dynamism of the falling gold coins and ribbons with the serenity of Danaë's sculptural physicality and classical appeal. The diagonal line formed by the curtain which Cupid holds aloft parallels both the coins and Danaë\’\’\’\’s arm, accentuating the speed of the gold\’\’\’\’s penetration into the scene. Gentileschi\’\’\’\’s picture could also be considered one of the highpoints of early seventeenth-century still-life painting since it is a meticulously observed study of light, surface and color. The various different textures of gold, the sheen of the fabrics, ranging from the gold bedcover to the cool white linen, the deep crimson mattress, the gilt bed and the artichoke-shaped bed knobs are of the very highest order. So too is the enticing transparent veil that covers Danaë\’\’\’\’s modesty – in stark contrast to Cupid\’\’\’\’s genitals, which are very deliberately exposed. Perhaps even more remarkable is the extraordinary skill and success in the description of the dramatis personae themselves: Danaë\’\’\’\’s alluring pearly flesh; the effortless weight of her elbow on the pillow; the careful portrayal of the delicate feathers of Cupid\’\’\’\’s wings; the plunging gold coins and spiraling ribbons that bear images of Jupiter and of his symbol, the thunderbolt.
The subject
Greek mythology, adapted and recounted in Latin in the verses of Ovid\’\’\’\’s Metamorphoses, relates that the beautiful Danaë was locked away in a bronze tower by her father, King Acrisius of Argos. Disappointed that he and his wife Eurydice had not produced a male heir, Acrisius consulted an oracle, who informed him, unexpectedly, that his daughter\’\’\’\’s son would kill him. In order to keep her childless, therefore, the king banished Danaë to a tower, away from the reach of men. While no mortal could gain access to Danaë, her imprisonment was no obstacle to Jupiter and his insatiable desire for young maidens. Transforming himself into a shower of golden rain, Jupiter lay with Danaë and impregnated her, conceiving the boy who would become the hero Perseus, famed for killing the Medusa and for rescuing Andromeda. When Perseus was born Acrisius threw both mother and son out to sea in a wooden chest, but Poseidon, the sea god, calmed the choppy waters and saved them. Later in life Perseus would indeed kill Acrisius, thereby affirming the inescapability of fate.
While the subject matter was at times clearly employed as a morally acceptable vehicle for portraying and celebrating the female nude, in much the same way as the theme of Susanna and the Elders was employed, it also presented an opportunity to explore a complex and multi-layered theme. The figure of Danaë, somewhat counter-intuitively, had been taken as an emblem of moral chastity, and since Perseus\’\’\’\’ conception only took place through divine intervention, the Church was not slow in appropriating the theme as a prefiguration of the Annunciation. The potential similarities with the Christian Annunciation must surely end there: even though Gentileschi places the tale of Danaë in a framework of sensuality rather than covetousness, his depiction of the nude does not shy away from celebrating the overtly erotic aspects of the story. The tale must also, on some level, be a cautionary though thinly veiled allegory; even locked away in a tower, Danaë, representative of all mankind, not just women, is helpless to resist the lure of money.
Orazio and Caravaggio
Orazio Gentileschi was born in Pisa in 1563, the son of Giovanni Battista di Bartolomeo Lomi, a Florentine goldsmith. As late as 1593, when the artist would have been 30, he is recorded as receiving payment for the design of medals for the feast of Saint Peter, so it is likely that he intended to follow in his father\’\’\’\’s footsteps professionally to some degree. By his late 30s, however, Orazio seems to have been committed to painting, as his destroyed altarpiece from 1596 in the church of San Paolo fuori le Mura in Rome, would suggest. Once he became an established artist, however, his success was impressive. During his lifetime Orazio was probably the most successful of all Caravaggio\’\’\’\’s associates, and certainly the most internationally patronized. His travels, in fact, did much to spread knowledge of Caravaggio\’\’\’\’s style overseas and made him one of the most peripatetic painters of the century. His career took him to Florence, the Marches, Rome, Genoa, Paris and London, where he became court painter to Charles I in 1626, and where he was to remain until his death some thirteen years later.
Although eight years older than Caravaggio, Orazio was still a relatively under-developed artist by the time he came into contact with his revolutionary tenebrist style. He very much belonged to a previous generation of artists whose point of reference would have been the work of the Carracci family, and whose artistic formation was rooted in the sixteenth century. Indeed, the inspiration for the present composition is the painting of the same subject, variously ascribed to Annibale Carracci, Francesco Albani and Domenichino, which was formerly in Bridgewater House but destroyed during the Second World War (fig. 3).
A preparatory drawing for the Bridgewater painting, certainly by Annibale Carracci, is in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle.
As Carracci and his busy workshop were active in Rome, Orazio would likely have come across the composition there, be it via the painting or the drawing, and perhaps made a study of it for use at a later date.
The immediate maturing of Orazio\’\’\’\’s style, not to mention career acceleration, owed much to his association with his younger acquaintance Caravaggio, and can be seen as a defining period of his life. The two artists probably met in Rome around 1600, shortly after Caravaggio\’\’\’\’s ground-breaking canvases, depicting the story of the Evangelist Matthew, were first shown in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome.
It is at times difficult for a modern audience to appreciate quite how powerful and extraordinary Caravaggio\’\’\’\’s canvases appeared when they were unveiled, and what an impact they made on his peers. Orazio was certainly awe-struck, but the little we know for certain of the two artists\’\’\’\’ interaction is limited to the transcripts of the lawsuit for defamation which another artist, Giovanni Baglione, brought against Caravaggio and Gentileschi in 1603. Caravaggio actually denied being friends with Gentileschi but we know that this must have been an exaggeration for at the very least there was a strong working relationship of some sort. It is recorded that Caravaggio had borrowed from Orazio a capuchin\’\’\’\’s cowl and a pair of swan\’\’\’\’s wings, presumably for use as props for a painting. One might tentatively propose that Orazio made use of these props in his Stigmatization of Saint Francis from 1600, in a private collection, and may even have reused them later in the Saint Francis Supported by an Angel, from around 1607, today in the Prado, Madrid (fig. 4).
However, the lyricism and sense of color which Orazio was never to abandon, and which were in part a result of his Tuscan late-mannerist training, meant that the term Caravaggesque can apply to Gentileschi only in part. His work is certainly not Caravaggesque in the way one might thus label artists such as Bartolomeo Manfredi, whose work often displays a forceful use of light and is populated by low-life figures. Gentileschi was one of the few artists of his generation, in fact, who succeeded in blending Caravaggesque naturalism with formal sophistication, and in using light as an instrument to celebrate beauty rather than as a theatrical device, Orazio proved to be one of the most graceful, personal and innovative artists of the period, as the present Danaë testifies.
During these key years Gentileschi repeatedly made use of Caravaggio\’\’\’\’s topos of presenting a single figure, lost in contemplation, and close to the picture plane, against a background that is bare but for a few details. While Caravaggio was intent on exploring the dramatic potential of a scene, however, Orazio focused on stylistic mannerisms, concentrating, for example, on the silvery fall of light on feathers in his aforementioned Saint Francis Supported by a an Angel in Madrid, as well as his treatment of the same subject in the Galleria Barberini, Rome.
He brings a similar approach to the delightful description of colorful silks, such as in his wonderful Young Woman Playing a Lute (fig. 5) from 1612-15 in the National Gallery of Art, Washington.
This interest in achieving visual harmony rather than creating dynamic impact can be found throughout Gentileschi\’\’\’\’s career and is clearly manifest in the present work.
The Sauli Commission
By 1620 Orazio had established himself in Rome as an artist of great repute, working, amongst others, for the Borghese family. In 1621 a second defining moment in his career took place when the Genoese patrician Giovanni Antonio Sauli arrived in Rome with a delegation sent in honor of the new Pope Alessandro Ludovisi, who took the name Gregory XV. While Sauli is thought to have met Orazio for the first time in Rome, he probably already knew of his work since Orazio\’\’\’\’s brother, Aurelio Lomi, had in fact lived in Genoa from 1597 to 1604 and had worked for the Sauli family, producing two canvases for the basilica of Santa Maria in Carignano, a Last Judgement and a Resurrection of Christ.
Whatever the precise context, Sauli was impressed enough by Orazio\’\’\’\’s work to invite him back to Genoa - where the artist was to remain until he left for France in 1624 - acting as an advisor for Sauli\’\’\’\’s burgeoning picture gallery and producing paintings directly for him.
The Ligurian capital was enjoying a period of unprecedented wealth and transformation. Genoa, \“La Superba,\” had established itself as the leading banking and commercial center of the Spanish Hapsburg Empire in northern and central Europe, and in the Mediterranean. The atmosphere of the artistic milieu was no less febrile: Peter Paul Rubens had already left his indelible mark on the city with his portraits and altarpieces, particularly the Circumcision commissioned by Nicolò Pallavicino for the church of the Gesù; Guido Reni\’\’\’\’s paintings, in particular his Assumption of the Virgin from 1617, already adorned the family chapel of Cardinal Stefano Durazzo, also in the Gesù; Anthony Van Dyck was to arrive in the same year as Gentileschi. All three of these artists were fascinated by color and the effects of light. It is perhaps little wonder then that it was amidst this stimulating Genoese setting that Orazio was to complete three masterpieces for Sauli\’\’\’\’s palazzo which represent the apogee of his career: the present Danaë, the New York Penitent Magdalene, which is based on the same cartoon as the Danaë, and the Getty\’\’\’\’s Lot and his Daughters. Carlo Giuseppe Ratti, editor of the 1768 edition of Raffaele Soprani\’\’\’\’s account of various artists and their work in Genoa (see Literature), singled out the Danaë as the finest of the set.
In both form and content, the poetics of Gentileschi\’\’\’\’s approach are remarkable. The subject matter of the Sauli paintings are taken from disparate sources: the present work is drawn from classical mythology; the Getty Lot and his Daughters is taken from the Old Testament scriptures; the story of the Penitent Magdalene is an apocryphal Christian tale. If a carefully defined iconographical program were intended, and there is no evidence that was the case, the uniting thread between the three would surely point to the rapport between women, God and different types of love, each picture representing a distinct facet of this relationship. Danaë, invitingly veiled in a richly embroidered bedroom, represents sensual love and physical union. The Magdalene, chastely covered in part by her brown robes and meditating alone in a cave, symbolizes cerebral and devotional love after her conversion. Lot\’\’\’\’s daughters, on the other hand, depict a moral challenge for they are caught between the sin of incest and the divine order to ensure that their genealogical line is not extinguished after the destruction of Sodom.
The compositions may perhaps just as well have been conceived within a visual framework rather than an iconographical one (see fold-out on p. 15). The Magdalene and the Danaë, both single-figure paintings, are based on the same cartoon and may have flanked the more complex and multi-figured design of the Lot and his Daughters, which compositionally forms a neat downward-facing triangle at its center. The Danaë may have hung to the right of the Lot, for while her body draws the eye to the right, her raised arm and the momentum of the coins could usefully create the right wing of the "triptych." The Magdalene\’\’\’\’s pose would indicate that she would have hung to the left. There is no suggestion that the pictures actually hung in a line, however, so at this stage any discussion on the potential layout of the pictures remains firmly rooted in the realm of conjecture.
The Sauli pictures were so successful that Gentileschi\’\’\’\’s status in Genoa as a great artist was ensured. Marcantonio Doria, another local aristocrat, employed Orazio on the elaborate fresco decorations (now lost) of the ceilings of his casino at Sanpierdarena outside Genoa, where Simon Vouet also participated. Carlo Emanuele I, Duke of Savoy, also came to know of Gentileschi\’\’\’\’ s work and in 1623 ordered the Annunciation in the Galleria Sabauda, Turin.
Further versions of the Sauli paintings themselves were also produced, and attest to their immediate success and popularity: the Clevelend Museum of Art houses a second version of the Danaë, which was possibly in the collection of the Duke of Sunderland by the mid-eighteenth century.
Further versions of the Magdalene are in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, in a New York private collection, and further inferior versions are known.
The Getty\’\’\’\’s Lot and his Daughters was replicated at least four times, the best versions probably the autograph variant in the National Gallery of Art, Ottawa, and the painting in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, though the latter should be considered a studio work at best.

It was quite common practice in the seventeenth century for artists to paint second versions, and Orazio is known to have done so on numerous occasions beside those related to the Sauli pictures. Earlier in his career, for example, he had produced a second version, today in a private collection, of the Saint Jerome in the Museo Civico in Turin.
For the second version of the Danaë in Cleveland (fig. 6, 163.4 by 228.7 cm.), Gentileschi made use of the same cartoon as for the Sauli picture but introduced some minor changes, perhaps the most significant of which is the rather anxious expression on Danaë's face which contrasts with the more serene look of the prototype. Marginally larger than the present work, the Cleveland painting was understandably widely (though not unanimously) thought to be the lost Sauli original when it was rediscovered in 1971, five years before the present picture resurfaced.
There can now be no doubt, however, that the Cleveland painting is the second version since it lacks the obvious pentimenti of the present work such as those in Danaë\’\’\’\’s right shoulder and around Cupid\’\’\’\’s right upper arm. It is also painted in a more rigid manner, as is often the case with second versions, since by the time of their execution the designs had already been resolved. When the two pictures were closely compared on the occasion of the 2001 exhibition, it became evident that the Cleveland picture was in fact produced from a tracing. Similarly, the use of glazes, which in the Feigen Danaë create a sense of transparency in the sheets and allow the light to shimmer on the various surfaces, is absent from the Cleveland version, which by contrast appears somewhat ponderous, in part, it should be added, due to its less than satisfactory condition.

in relation to other paintings in Orazio\’\’\’\’s oeuvre
From both the compositional and stylistic points of view, the Sauli Danaë fits perfectly into Orazio\’\’\’\’s work from the early 1620s and epitomizes his artistic early maturity, arguably his most accomplished period, though he never totally abandoned his earlier style. Danaë\’\’\’\’s rhetorical gesture, for example, echoes the figure of Saint Cecilia in a work from 1606-07, the Saints Cecilia, Valerianus and Tiburtius visited by the Angel (fig. 7) in the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, while similar gestures, which border on the self-conscious, are also to be found in the aforementioned Annunciation in Turin (fig. 8) from 1623. A similar control in the rendering of shimmering fabrics can be seen in the handling of the bedsheets in the sumptuous red and blue folds of the Turin Annunciation, as well as the yellow and blue robes of the figure of Public Felicity in the Louvre, Paris.
A useful comparison might be made with Orazio\’\’\’\’s inviting Cleopatra (fig. 9) from the early 1610s, today in an Italian private collection, which has also at times been ascribed to Orazio\’\’\’\’s daughter, Artemisia.
The picture demonstrates quite how far Orazio\’\’\’\’s style had evolved by the 1620s. During this earlier artistic phase Orazio\’\’\’\’s description of the white linen sheet and the red folds of the curtains are still very much rooted in a strong Caravaggesque naturalism which cannot yet boast the elegance or refinement of the present picture. Moreover, the corpulent female figure type is deliberately bold and overtly sexual by comparison, and has not yet developed into the graceful, restrained and painterly figure of the present Danaë.
Orazio Gentileschi - Madonna And Child

Orazio Gentileschi - Madonna And Child



Lot number: 562
Orazio Gentileschi (Pisa 1563 – 1639 London)
Madonna and Child, or a Woman and Child, oil on canvas, 107 x 88 cm, framed

European private collection

P. Carofano, Atti delle Giornate di Studi sul Caravaggismo e il Naturalismo nella Toscana del Seicento, a cura di P. Carofano, introduzione, San Casciano Val di Pesa 2009, pp. 7–9, fig. 2, p. 9.;
C. Strinati, \“Una Donna con Bambino di Orazio Gentileschi\”, in: Valori tattili. Quesiti Caravaggeschi 1, 2011, p. 1117.

We are grateful to Prof. Pierluigi Carofano and Prof. Claudio Strinati, who have independently confirmed the attribution of the present painting after examining it in the original.

We also grateful to Prof. Raymond Ward Bissell, who has confirmed the attribution on the basis of a digital photograph.

Carofano dates the present painting, to circa 1625-28, to the time when Orazio Gentileschi\’\’\’\’s was in London. He recognizes typical features of this period in the geometrical perfection of the forms and the choice of pale colours as well as the representation of sumptuous fabrics. In areas of the drapery of the Madonna\’\’\’\’s garment, in the turban, and in the countenance of the child, one can discern preparatory lines. According to Carofano, this is a technique commonly used by Gentileschi and this preparation is visible because the painting is most probably unfinished.

According to Carofano the present work anticipates the composition that the artist executed in the years 1629-30, the Finding of Moses (Madrid, Museo del Prado); (see R. Ward Bissell, Orazio Gentileschi and the Poetic Tradition in Caravagesque painting, pp. 189-190, no. 62). However, there are significant differences between the figures in two works: the pose of the Infant Jesus is not the same; the figure of Moses appears in the reverse direction; and whereas the Madonna holds the cloth up with her left hand, the maiden in the Prado painting does not. It is thus a reworking with variations on a model.

Strinati believes that the present work was executed around 1620 and therefore some time before the Prado\’\’\’\’s Finding of Moses (see C. Strinati, \“Una \‘Donna con Bambino\’\’\’\’ di Orazio Gentileschi\”, in Valori Tattili, 00, 2011, pp. 11-17). It is interesting to notice that the Virgin and Child exhibit almost the same relative proportions as the comparable figures in the Finding of Moses. That this composition by Orazio was used several times and varied was typical of the artist´s working manner,, as is seen for example in the Penitent Magdalene, the Rest on the Flight into Egypt, and Lot and His Daughters.

Strinati, believes this recently discovered work to be an important addition to the reconstruction of Orazio Gentileschi\’\’\’\’s career. Strinati has also noticed that the painting is inherently secular in character, which can be seen, for example, in the parallels between the female figure of the maiden who is holding up the cloth in the Finding of Moses and the Virgin. The lack of a halo and the overall secular impression suggest a Woman and Child rather than a Madonna and Child.

Strinati also stresses the significance of the present work for the understanding of the working process that Orazio employed to produce a picture. The painting, which is most probably unfinished, seems as if it were a legible map of strata that in different places clearly reveals the various working stages of the artist.

Ward Bissell suggests a somewhat later dating for the present painting, setting it in the third decade of the 17th Century, towards 1629. His reasoning is based on the conviction that the almost exaggeratedly luxurious fabric is typical of the artist\’\’\’\’s English period. This late dating is, according to Ward Bissell, also justifiable through the comparison of the colours used for the Virgin and that of the woman with the raised arm in the Prado\’\’\’\’s Finding of Moses. It may also be possible, Bissell continues, that Orazio used a tracing to transfer the figure of the maiden in the Finding of Moses to that of the Virgin, as some of the smallest details are the same.

Ward Bissell points out that the origin of the idea of a woman with a raised arm who is gazing at a reclining child can be traced to the idea of the Virgin adoring the Child, the composition of which for its part was derived from the Annunciation (Turin, Galleria Sabauda), painted by Orazio in 1623. Ward Bissell maintains that the energetic child and the motif of the cloth being held up, opening, has a famous precedent in the Madonna di Loreto by Raphael, which Orazio most likely saw in Rome and, according to a hypothesis of Bissell\’\’\’\’s, a copy of which might have been conserved in the collection of Charles I in London.

Ward Bissell believes the Prado\’\’\’\’s Finding of Moses should also be dated to around 1629. The picture of the same subject matter, once in Castle Howard, Bissell believes was produced later in around 1633. This, formerly Castle Howard version was created after the first version was presented to Philip IV of Spain. The second version corresponded to the refined taste of Queen Henrietta Maria who had the painting installed at Queen\’\’\’\’s House in Greenwich. Based on these dates. Ward Bissell assigns the present Madonna and Child to around 1629.

The dating of the present painting to the 1620s is entirely consistent with Orazio´s stylistic development as his oeuvre became increasingly refined and graceful during this period. The present composition displays this refined elegance which was entirely in keeping with the taste of his increasingly aristocratic and royal patrons. By 1623 Orazio was in Genoa working for the Duke of Savoy, Charles Emmanuel I; in 1626 he worked for Maria de\’\’\’\’ Medici in Paris. By November 1626 Orazio was in London, where he became court painter to Charles I and Henrietta Maria. His most ambitious work was the ceiling (1638/9, London Malborough House) for the Great Hall in the Queen´s House in Greenwich, designed by Inigo Jones, where he was assisted by his daughter Artemisia. This shows an Allegory of Peace and the Arts under the English Crown, a theme in keeping with the flattering courtly language of Inigo Jones´s masques. Orazio died in London without returning to Italy.

We are grateful to Prof. Pierluigi Carofano for his contribution to this catalogue entry.
Orazio Gentileschi - The Madonna And Child

Orazio Gentileschi - The Madonna And Child

Original 1605


Gross Price
Lot number: 71
Orazio Gentileschi (Pisa 1563-1639 London)
The Madonna and Child
oil on panel
36 x 28¾ in. (91.4 x 73 cm.)
in a 17th century carved and gilded Florentine frame
Possibly Cardinal Giacomo Sannesi (1551-1621) and by inheritance to Anna Maria Sannesi, whose posthumous inventory of 1724 lists a Madonna and Child measuring 5 by 3
palmi (i.e. 111 x 67 cm.) on panel.
with Matthiesen Fine Art, London, 1978-81, exhibited,
Important Italian Baroque Paintings, 1600-1700, 1981, no. 2, from whom acquired by the present owner.
R. Ward Bissell,
Orazio Gentileschi and the Poetic Tradition in Caravaggesque Painting, Pennsylvania, 1981, pp. 143-4, and 147, no. 12, fig. 23, as Orazio Gentileschi,
circa 1605.
M. Garrard,
Artemisia Gentileschi: The Image of the Female Hero in Italian Baroque Art, Princeton, 1989, pp. 25-6, 32, and 493, notes 21 and 22, as Artemisia Gentileschi.
R. Ward Bissell,
Artemisia Gentileschi and the Authority of Art, Pennsylvania, 1999, pp. 326-7, no. X-18, and 333, as Orazio Gentileschi.
A. Sutherland Harris, 'Artemisia and Orazio: Drawing Conclusions'. in
Artemisia Gentileschi: Taking Stock, ed. J.W. Mann, Turnhout, 2005, pp. 138-9, fig. 7, as Artemisia Gentileschi.
Warsaw, Royal Castle and Vaduz, Liechtensteinische Staatliche Kunstsammlung,
Opus Sacrum: catalogue of the Exhibition from the Collection of Barbara Piasecka Johnson, 10 April-23 September 1990, and 15 February-30 September 1991, no. 30 (catalogue entry by Józef Grabski).
Rome, Museo del Palazzo di Venezia,
Orazio e Artemisia Gentileschi, 15 October 2001-6 January 2002, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Saint Louis, Saint Louis Museum,
Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi: Father and Daughter Painters in Baroque Italy, 14 February-12 May and 14 June-15 September 2002, no. 8 (catalogue entry by Keith Christiansen).
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