The J. Paul Getty Museum

Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene

Object Details

Title:

Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene

Artist/Maker:

Parmigianino (Francesco Mazzola) (Italian, 1503 - 1540)

Culture:

Italian

Place:

Italy (Place Created)

Date:

about 1535–1540

Medium:

Oil on paper, laid down on panel

Object Number:

2017.22

Dimensions:

75.9 × 59.7 × 3 cm (29 7/8 × 23 1/2 × 1 3/16 in.)

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Object Description

The original function of this painting is unknown, but its scale and subject matter imply that it was perhaps independently commissioned by an individual, intended for personal devotion or display in a small private chapel. The unconventional iconography of this painting typifies Parmigianino’s innovative work. The Virgin and Child are separated from one another; while she reaches across to clutch him by the wrist, he turns away to converse with and embrace his cousin, Saint John the Baptist, whose hands are joined in prayer. Between them is a young woman with beautifully coiffed but partially unbound flowing locks, who is supporting the Christ Child under her arms; she is most likely Mary Magdalene, although in older literature on the painting she was often misinterpreted as Saint Catherine of Alexandria. Her true identity is established by the foreground still life, which includes a string of pearls and a stiletto of the sort used in the preparation of one’s toilette, and also by a representation of her ecstatic bodily assumption in the upper left of the composition. In what may well be his final work of this kind, Parmigianino employed his usual method of dividing the composition between a group on one side and a single figure on the other.

The painting’s support is composed of several sheets of paper, carefully laid down and smoothed onto a wood panel. Extremely well-preserved, the Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene exhibits Parmigianino’s characteristic polished and enamel-like paint surface and meticulous attention to detail, and presents a supreme example of the artist’s mature style.

 

Provenance
Provenance
by 1644 - 1671

Cardinal Antonio Barberini, 1607 - 1671 (Palazzo alle Quattro Fontane, Rome, Italy), by inheritance to his nephew, Maffeo Barberini, 1671.
Source: First mentioned in the 1644 inventory, no. 308. In his posthumous inventory of 1671, no. 143.

1671 - 1685

Prince Maffeo Barberini of Palestrina, 1632 - 1685 (Palazzo alle Quattro Fontane, Rome, Italy), by inheritance to his son, Urbano Barberini, 1685.
Source: Listed in the 1672 inventory of Cardinal Antonio Barberini's bequests to his brother, Cardinal Francesco Barberini (1597-1679) and his nephew, Prince Maffeo Barberini, no. 62. Listed in Prince Maffeo's posthumous inventory, 1686, no. 273.

1685 - 1722

Prince Urbano Barberini of Palestrina, 1666 - 1722 (Palazzo alle Quattro Fontane, Rome, Italy), by inheritance within the Barberini family, 1722.
Source: Listed in an undated inventory (probably 1686) of the paintings inherited by Prince Urbano from his father, no. 19

1722 -

Barberini Family, sold through Gavin Hamilton to John Taylor.
Source: Handwritten note by H. Isherwood Kay in his copy of the pictures at Basildon Park (London, National Gallery Library).

by 1770 - 1787

Sir John Taylor, first Bart. of Lysson Hall, 1745 - 1786 (Lysson Hall, Jamaica) [bought in, Taylor sale, Christie's London, April 27, 1787, lot 66. Catalogue description: "A Holy Family by Parmegiano, a Chef D'Oeuvre of this great Master, and esteemed One of his finest Pictures in Europe." £425.5s to Fuhr (bought in)], by inheritance to his son, Simon Richard Brisset Taylor, 1787.

1787 - 1815

Sir Simon Richard Brissett Taylor, second Bart. of Lysson Hall, Jamaica, 1783 - 1815, by inheritance to his sister, Anna Susanna Watson-Taylor, and her husband, George Watson-Taylor, 1815 (Anna Susanna married George Watson of Erlestoke Park in 1810, who assumed the last name Taylor).

1815 - 1832

Anna Susanna Watson-Taylor, 1781 - 1853 (Erlestoke Park, near Devizes, Wiltshire) and George Watson Taylor, English, 1771 - 1841 (Erlestoke Park, near Devizes, Wiltshire) [sold, Erlestoke Park sale, George Robins, July 25, 1832, lot 155.]

by 1845 - 1857

James Morrison, 1789 - 1857 (Basildon Park, Berkshire, England), by inheritance to his eldest son, Charles Morrison, 1857.
Source: Catalogue of Pictures [...], exh. cat. (London: British Institution, 1845), p. 9, no. 51; seen by Waagen in 1854 at Basildon Park, inv. 97.

1857 - 1909

Charles Morrison, 1817 - 1909 (Basildon Park, Berkshire, England), by inheritance to his sister, Ellen Morrison, June 1909.

1909

Ellen Morrison, 1834 - 1909 (Basildon Park, Berkshire, England), by inheritance to her brother, Walter Morrison, December 1909.

1909 - 1910

Walter Morrison, 1836 - 1921 (Basildon Park, Berkshire, England), by gift to his nephew, James Archibald Morrison, 1910.

1910 - 1934

Major James Archibald Morrison, 1873 - 1934 (Basildon Park, Berkshire, England; Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, England), by inheritance to his daughter, Mary (Morrison) Dent-Brocklehurst, 1934.

1934 - 1949

Mary (Morrison) Dent-Brocklehurst, 1902 - 1988 (Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, England), by inheritance to her son, (Geoffrey) Mark Dent-Brocklehurst, 1949.

1949 - 1972

(Geoffrey) Mark Dent-Brocklehurst, English, 1932 - 1972 (Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, England), by inheritance to his wife, Mary Elizabeth (Chipps) Dent-Brocklehurst, 1972.

1972 - 2017

Mary Elizabeth (Chipps) Dent-Brocklehurst, baroness Ashcombe, born 1944 (Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, England)

2017

Dent-Brocklehurst Family (Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2017.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Pictures by Italian, Spanish, Flemish, and Dutch Masters (1828)
  • British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom (London), 1828
Pictures by Italian, Spanish, Flemish, Dutch, French and English Masters (1845)
  • British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom (London), 1845
Exhibition of Works by the Old Masters, and by Deceased Masters of the British School (January 6 to March 15, 1879)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), January 6 to March 15, 1879
Exhibition of Works by the Old Masters and by Deceased Masters of the British School (1894)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), 1894
Third National Loan Exhibition: Pictures from Basildon Park and Fonthill Collections (Winter 1914 to 1915)
  • Grosvenor Gallery (London), 1914 to 1915
Discoveries from the Cinquecento (June 17 to November 6, 1982)
  • P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., Ltd., London, June 17 to August 7, 1982
Bibliography
Bibliography

Christie's, London. Catalogue of the Most Capital and Valuable Collection of Pictures ... of Sir John Taylor, Bart. April 27, 1787, p. 7, lot 66.

Catalogue of Pictures by Italian, Spanish, Flemish, and Dutch Masters, with which the Proprietors Have Favoured the Institution, exh. cat. (London: William Nicol, with British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom, 1828), p. 12, cat. 22.

George Robins, London. Catalogue of the Magnificent  Assemblage of Property at Erlestoke Mansion [...] Selected by George Watson Taylor. July 9, 1832, p. 166, lot 155.

Catalogue of Pictures by Italian, Spanish, Flemish, Dutch, French and English Masters, exh. cat. (London: British Institution, 1845), p. 9, no. 51.

Waagen, Gustav Friedrich. Treasures of Art in Great Britian: Being an Account of the Chief Collections of Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, Illuminated Mss., &c., &c. 3 vols. (London: John Murray, 1854), vol. 2, p. 262.

Waagen, Gustav Friedrich. Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain: Being an Account of More than Forty Collections of Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, Mss. [...] Visited in 1854 and 1856, and Now for the First Time Described, A Supplement to Treasures of Art in Great Britain (London: John Murray, 1857), pp. 107-8.

Exhibition of Works by the Old Masters, and by Deceased Masters of the British School Including Oil Paintings, Miniatures, and Drawings, exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy, with William Clowes and Sons, 1879), p. 28, no. 143.

Exhibition of Works by the Old Masters, and by Deceased Masters of the British School, exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy, 1894), p. 27, no. 116.

Morrison, James Archibald. Catalogue of Pictures at Basildon Park, Berkshire (Oxford: Horace Hart, 1910), p. 26, as Parmegiano (Francesco Mazzuoli).

Graves, Algernon. A Century of Loan Exhibitions, 1813-1912. 5 vols. (London: Algernon Graves, 1913-15), vol. 2 (1913), pp. 904-5.

Catalogue of the Pictures at Basildon Park. The Property of Captain Archibald Morrison. Typescript, unpublished, n.d, unpaginated, no. 97.

A Catalogue of the Pictures in the III National Loan Exhibition: Pictures from the Basildon Park and Fonthill Collections. [..] held at the Grosvenor Gallery, exh. cat. (London: W. Clowes, 1914), pp. 46-47, no. 23.

Whitfield, Clovis. Discoveries from the Cinquecento, exh. cat. (London: Colnaghi, 1982), pp. 52-53, no. 25, ill., cover and frontispiece ill.

Whitfield, Clovis. "A Parmigianino Discovery." Burlington Magazine 124, no. 950 (May 1982), pp. 276-80, ill.

Rowlands, Eliot W. "A Parmigianino Provenance." Burlington Magazine 125, no. 963 (June 1983), p. 362.

Gardner, Elizabeth. "Provenance notes: Parmigianino." Burlington Magazine 125, no. 968 (November 1983), pp. 691-92.

De Grazia, Diane. Correggio and his Legacy: Sixteenth-Century Emilian Drawings, exh. cat. (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1984), p. 180n6.

Freedberg, Sydney J. "Parmigianino Problems in the Exhibition (and related matters)." In Emilian Painting of the 16th and 17th Centuries, A Symposium. H.A. Millon, et al., eds. (Bologna: Nuova Alfa, 1987), pp. 46-47.

Lucco, Mauro. Un Parmigianino ritrovato (Parma: Ministero beni culturali, 1988), p. 12.

Di Giampaolo, Mario. Parmigianino: Catalogo completo dei dipinti (Florence: Cantini, 1991), p. 24, no. 24, ill.

Gould, Cecil. Parmigianino (New York: Abbeville, 1994), p. 95, no. C2 (under "Notes on some attributed paintings").

Scailliérez, Cécile. "Une ebauche du Parmesan (1503-1540) pour le Louvre, un don de la Société des Amis du Louvre." Revue du Louvre Études 5/6 (1994), pp. 33, 34n28, ill.

Freedberg, Sydney J. "Il Parmigianino." In La pittura in Emilia e in Romagna: Il Cinquecento. 2 vols. Vera Fortunati, ed. (Milan: Electa, 1995), vol. 2, pp. 85-86.

Ekserdjian, David. "Parmigianino." In The Dictionary of Art. Jane Turner, ed. Vol. 24, Pandolfini to Pitti (London: Macmillan Publishers Limited, 1996), p. 199.

Di Giampaolo, Mario. Giovanni Bedoli, 1500-1569 (Florence: Cantini, 1997), p. 116, no. 4.

Chiusa, Maria Cristina. Parmigianino (Milan: Electa, 2001), pp. 205, 213, ill.

Vaccaro, Mary. Parmigianino - The Paintings (Turin: Allemandi, 2002), p. 220, no. A8, ill.

Holmes, Richard. "Introduction." In Romantics and Revolutionaries: Regency Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery. David Crane, et al., eds. (London: National Portrait Gallery, 2002), p. 114.

Walker, Richard. Regency Portraits. 2 vols. (London: National Portrait Gallery, 2002), vol. 1, p. 615.

Walker, Richard. Regency Portraits. 2 vols. (London: National Portrait Gallery, 2002), vol. 2, pl. 1595.

Sgarbi, Vittorio. Parmigianino (Milan: Rizzoli, 2003), p. 195, no. 25.

Ekserdjian, David. Parmigianino (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2006), pp. 87, 272, ill.