The J. Paul Getty Museum

Holy Family with Saints Anne, Catherine of Alexandria, and Mary Magdalene

Object Details


Holy Family with Saints Anne, Catherine of Alexandria, and Mary Magdalene


Nosadella (Italian (Bolognese), active about 1550 - 1571)






Oil on panel

Object Number:



101.3 × 77.2 cm (39 7/8 × 30 3/8 in.)

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Object Description

This panel, alive with vibrant hues and communicative expressions, illustrates Nosadella’s powers of artistic invention. Huddled closely together, the Virgin suckles the infant Christ while Mary Magdalene and Saint Catherine of Alexandria look on in adoration. Joseph stands behind them, conversing with the Virgin’s mother, Saint Anne, while two cherubim observe the scene timidly from the upper right. Sitting on the floor as a sign of her humility, the Virgin and saints are arranged in a loose pyramidal shape, and appear in contorted poses and compressed into a tight space. The faces of the three young women are classically idealized, and they are swathed in garments of bright, vivid colors. Mary Magdalene and Saint Catherine wear jewelry and expensively brocaded fabrics, which contrast with the simpler garments worn by the Virgin, Joseph, and Saint Anne.

Details of Nosadella's development over his short career, spanning just twenty years, remain unclear. Bolognese biographer Carlo Cesare Malvasia (1616 – 1693) noted that "the few works by him that are known … are distinguished by their good color,” and described the artist’s compositions as “powerful, singular, and resolute.”



Colnaghi Gallery Ltd. (London) (L.2075) and Matthiesen Fine Art Ltd. (London, England), sold shares to P & D Colnaghi & Co., Ltd., 1977.
Note: as Tibaldi; as Tibaldi

1977 - 1984

Colnaghi Gallery Ltd. (London) (L.2075)
Note: as Tibaldi

- 1985

Zangrilli, Brady & Co., Ltd., New York (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1985.
Note: as Tibaldi

Old Master Paintings and Drawings (June 19 to August 3, 1979)
  • P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., Ltd., London, June 19 to August 3, 1979
Discoveries from the Cinquecento (June 17 to November 6, 1982)
  • P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., Ltd., London, June 17 to August 7, 1982
  • P & D Colnaghi & Co. Ltd. (New York), October 6 to November 6, 1982

Old Master Paintings and Drawings, June 19-August 3, 1979, exh. cat. (London: Colnaghi, 1979), p. 13, no. 5, ill.

Verdi, Richard. Review of Old Master Paintings and Drawings. Colnaghi & Co. Burlington Magazine 121, no. 917 (August 1979), p. 539, fig. 94.

Sambo, Elisabetta. "La Formazione e il Primo Tempo di Pellegrino Tibaldi."  Diss. ["Tesi di Laurea"] (University of Bologna, 1980), pp. 163-68, 172, 203-4, pl. 28.

Dunkelman, Martha Levine. "The Holy Family with St. John the Baptist: Nosadella or Tibaldi." Perceptions 1 (1981), p. 49n19.

Sambo, Elisabetta. "Tibaldi e Nosadella." Paragone 32, no. 379. (September 1981), pp. 15-16, 25n37, pls. 16-19.

Whitfield, Clovis. Discoveries from the Cinquecento, exh. cat. (London: Colnaghi, 1982), pp. 78-79, no. 38, ill.

Whitfield, Clovis. Discoveries from the Cinquecento, exh. cat. (New York: Colnaghi, 1982), pp. 66-67, no. 32, ill.

Baltay, Christine. "Pellegrino Tibaldi in Bologna and the Marches." Ph.D. diss. (Institute of Fine Arts, New York University: 1984), pp. 170, 172, 175, 177-78, 180-81, 187n59, fig. 177.

"Acquisitions/1985." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 14 (1986), p. 213, no. 113.

Winkelmann, Jürgen. "Giovanni Francesco Bezzi detto il Nosadella." In Pittura bolognese del '500. Daniele Benati et al., eds (Bologna: Grafis Edizioni,1986), vol. 2, pp. 460, 462, 472, ill.

La Pittura in Italia: Il Cinquecento. Giuliano Briganti, ed. 2nd ed. (Milan: Electa,1988), vol. 2, p. 784.

Romani, Vittoria. Problemi di Michelangiolismo Padano: Tibaldi e Nosadella (Padua: Antenore, 1988), pp. 12-13, 40-43, fig. 39.

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. 92, ill.