Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist

Object Details


Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist


Giovanni Lanfranco (Italian, 1582 - 1647)




about 1630 - 1632


Oil on canvas


96.7 × 75.6 cm (38 1/16 × 29 3/4 in.)

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While the Madonna tenderly caresses her son Jesus and her nephew the infant Saint John the Baptist, the two children extend their arms toward each other, expressing both familial and divine love. Yet, because each of the boys tucks his nearer arm in toward his body, the composition remains open. The goldfinch held carelessly in the Christ Child's left hand symbolizes his future Crucifixion.

This painting's small scale and sensitive, poetic intimacy contrast with Giovanni Lanfranco's more usual grand, illusionistic decorations. The painting's frame, a type that was often used in the Barberini Palace in Rome, hints at the picture's previous location. Lanfranco may have painted it for a private chapel owned by the Barberini, Pope Urban VIII's family and leading patrons of Baroque art in Rome in the 1600s.

by 1649 - 1679

Possibly Cardinal Francesco Barberini, 1597 - 1679 (Rome, Italy), by inheritance to his nephew, Cardinal Carlo Barberini, 1679.
Source: 2. PI, Archival Inventory I-3730 (Barberini), item 0052, Cardinal Francesco Barberini, senior, Palazzo della Cancelleria, 1679, f. 16 v., no. 52

1679 - 1704

Cardinal Carlo Barberini, 1630 - 1704 (Rome, Italy), probably by inheritance to his nephew, Cardinal Francesco Barberini, 1704.
Source: PI, Archival Inventory I-3736 (Barberini), item 0333, Cardinal Carlo Barberini, Palazzo Barberini alle Quattro Fontane,1692/1704, f. 219, no. 324

1704 - 1738

Cardinal Francesco Barberini, 1662 - 1738 (Rome, Italy)
Source: PI, Archival Inventory I-529 (Barberini), item 0213, Cardinal Francesco Barberini, junior, 1738, no. 543

by 1911

Anna Barberini Corsini, 1840 - 1911 (Florence, Italy), estate inventory, 1911, no. 48, as Simone Cantarini.


Private Collection (Switzerland)


Private Collection (England)

by 1980 - 1984

P & D Colnaghi & Co. Ltd. (New York) (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Captured Emotions: Baroque Painting in Bologna, 1575-1725 (December 16, 2008 to May 3, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 16, 2008 to May 3, 2009

Lavin, Marilyn Aronberg. Seventeenth-Century Barberini Documents and Inventories of Art (New York: New York University Press, 1975), p. 440 (VI, inv. 92-04, fol. 219 r., no. 324).

Schleier, Erich, ed. Disegni di Giovanni Lanfranco (1582-1647), exh. cat. (Florence: Galleria degli Uffizi, 1983), p. 158.

Colnaghi, New York. Italian, Dutch and Flemish Baroque Paintings. April 4-March 5, 1984, p. 38, lot 18, ill., entry by C. Whitfield.

"Acquisitions/1984." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 13 (1985), p. 205, no. 126, repr.

Hall, Nicholas H. J., ed. Colnaghi in America: A Survey to Commemorate the First Decade of Colnaghi New York (New York: Colnaghi, 1992), p. 130.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 70, ill.

Schaefer, Scott. "The Bolognese Baroque in Los Angeles and Southern California." In Captured Emotions: Baroque Painting in Bologna, 1575-1725, exh. cat. Andreas Henning and Scott Schaefer, eds. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008), pp. 110, 112, 114, pl. 42.