Head of Christ

Object Details

Title:

Head of Christ

Artist/Maker:

Correggio (Antonio Allegri) (Italian, about 1489 - 1534)

Culture:

Italian

Date:

about 1525–1530

Medium:

Oil on panel

Object Number:

94.PB.74

Dimensions:

28.6 × 23.5 cm (11 1/4 × 9 1/4 in.)

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As Christ stumbled under the weight of the cross that he bore on the way to his crucifixion, Saint Veronica comforted him and wiped the blood and sweat from his face with her veil. The frontal view adopted in this portrait recalls the depiction of Christ’s face as it was miraculously imprinted on the veil of Saint Veronica, but instead of depicting the imprint of Christ’s face, Correggio paints Christ himself, looking out at the viewer. Gentle fraying is visible on the lower right corner of the composition, identifying the white areas as cloth, and blurring the distinction between real and fictive space.

Veronica’s veil covers the background and wraps around Christ, whose purple robe is just visible beneath, an allusion to the mocking which he endured prior to his death: Roman soldiers stripped him of his clothes, dressed him in a purple cloak, placed a crown of thorns on his head, and mocked him as the King of the Jews.

Numerous copies after this new type of devotional image attest to the artist’s success in capturing the suffering of Christ in the lead-up to his crucifixion. Christ’s haunting, sorrowful stare is rendered with delicate, soft brushstrokes and he is bathed in a radiant light for which Correggio was well known. The subject matter and small size of the Head of Christ indicate that it was made as an aid to private devotion.

 

Provenance
-

Private Collection (Rome, Italy), sold to Leonor Goyon de Matignon.

- 1680

Leonor Goyon de Matignon, 1604 - 1680, possibly by inheritance to Henri Goyon de Matignon.

- possibly 1682

Henri Goyon de Matignon, 1633 - 1682, by inheritance to Jacques de Goyon.

- 1725

Jacques de Goyon, 1644 - 1725 (Paris, France), by inheritance to Jacques-François-Leonor de Goyon, 1725.
Source: 1725 death inventory.

1725 - 1751

Jacques-François-Leonor de Goyon, duc de Valentinois, 1689 - 1751 (Paris, France), by inheritance to Honoré-Camille-Léonor Grimaldi, 1751.
Source: 1751 death inventory.

1751 - 1795

Honoré-Camille-Léonor Grimaldi, Prince of Monaco, 1720 - 1795 (Paris, France), by inheritance to Marie-Jérôme-Joseph-Honoré Grimaldi Monaco, Camille de la Vincelle and Honoré-Anne-Charles-Maurice Grimaldi Monaco, 1795.

1795 - about 1803

Marie-Jérôme-Joseph-Honoré Grimaldi Monaco, 1763 - 1816 (Paris, France)

1795 - about 1803

and Camille de la Vincelle, 1784 - 1879 (Paris, France)

1795 - about 1803

and Honoré-Anne-Charles-Maurice Grimaldi Monaco, 1758 - 1819 (Paris, France), possibly by inheritance to Charles Jacques Chapelain de Séréville, about 1803.

about 1803 - 1812

Charles Jacques Chapelain de Séréville, 1747 - 1826 [sold, Séréville sale, Olivier, Paris. January 22, 1812, lot 1, to Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Lebrun.]

1812 - 1813

Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Lebrun, 1748 - 1813 (Paris, France) [unsold, Lebrun sale, Lebrun, Paris, February 2, 1813, lot 32.], upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1813 - 1814

Estate of Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Lebrun, 1748 - 1813 [unsold, Lebrun sale, Chariot, Paris, May 23, 1814, lot 21.]

1814 -

Nicolas Lerouge (Paris, France)

- 1831

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Prince de Bénévent, 1754 - 1838, sold through John Smith to George Augustus Frederick Cowper, 1831.

- 1856

George Augustus Frederick Cowper, sixth earl Cowper, 1806 - 1856 (Panshanger, Hertford, England), by inheritance to his son, Francis Thomas De Grey Cowper, 1856.

1856 - 1905

Francis Thomas de Grey Cowper, seventh earl Cowper, 1834 - 1905 (Panshanger, Hertford, England; Wrest Park, Bedford, England), by inheritance to his wife, Katrine Cecilia Compton Cowper, 1905.

1905 - 1913

Katrine Cecilia Compton Cowper, countess Cowper, 1845 - 1913 (Panshanger, Hertfordshire, England), by inheritance to Ethel Anne Priscilla Fane Grenfell Desborough, 1913.

1913 - 1952

Ethel Anne Priscilla Fane Grenfell, Baroness Desborough, 1867 - 1952 (Panshanger, Hertfordshire, England), by inheritance to Henry Rainald Gage.

- 1982

Henry Rainald Gage, sixth viscount Gage, 1895 - 1982, by inheritance to George John St. Clere Gage.

- 1994

George John St. Clere Gage, seventh viscount Gage, 1932 - 1993, sold through Simon Dickinson, Ltd. (London) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1994.

Exhibitions
Exhibition of Works by the Old Masters and by Deceased Masters of the British School (1881)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), 1881
The Earl and Countess of Arundel: Renaissance Collectors (May 2 to October 1, 1995)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), May 2 to October 1, 1995
Correggio e l'antico (May 20 to September 14, 2008)
  • Museo e Galleria Borghese (Rome), May 20 to September 14, 2008
Correggio (September 20, 2008 to January 25, 2009)
  • Galleria Nazionale (Parma), September 20, 2008 to January 25, 2009
Correggio e Parmigianino: Arte a Parma nel Cinquecento (March 15 to June 26, 2016)
  • Scuderie del Quirinale (Rome), March 11 to June 26, 2016
Bibliography

Olivier, Paris. Catalogue d'une Collection precieuse de Tableaux des trois Écoles, composant le Cabinet de M. de Séréville. January 22, 1812, pp. 1-2, lot 1.

Olivier, Paris. Catalogue d'une Collection de Tableaux capitaux des Écoles de Flamande, de Hollandaise, d'Allemagne et de Française [...] par J.B.P. Lebrun. January 27, 1813, p. 12, lot 32.

Lebrun, Paris. Catalogue d'une Collection de Tableaux capitaux et du Plus Beau Choix, des Écoles d'Italie, d'Espagne, de Flandres, de Hollande, d'Allemagne et de France [...] par J.B.P. Lebrun. February 2, 1813, p. 12, lot 32.

Chariot, Paris. Catalogue d'une Collection de Tableaux capitaux des Écoles d'Italie, d'Espagne, de Flandres, de Hollande, d'Allemagne et de France [...] de Feu J.B.P. Lebrun. May 23, 1814, p. 13, lot 21.

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), p. 345.

Exhibition of Works by the Old Masters, and by Deceased Masters of the British School, exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts, with William Clowes and Sons, 1881), p. 31, no. 140.

Sutton, Denys. "Paintings at Firle Place." Connoisseur 6 (1956), pp. 78-84, 82.

Gould, Cecil. The Paintings of Correggio (New York: Cornell University Press, 1976), pp. 123, 208, fig. 172A.

Russell, Francis. "Rondani's Masterpiece and a Neglected Correggio." Apollo 103, no. 167 (January 1976), pp. 13-15, fig. 4.

Riccomini, Eugenio. "Le Corrège: Un visage du Christ." L'Oeil, no. 454 (September 1993), pp. 26-28, ill.

Riccomini, Eugenio ed. Un volto di Cristo: Un dipinto ritrovato di Antonio Allegri detto Il Correggio, exh. cat. (Corregio: Palazzo dei Principi: 1994), p. 9, ill.

Jeromack, Paul. "Great Pictures, Great Prices." The Art Newspaper 6, no. 54 (December 1995), p. 6.

Muzzi, Andrea. "L'espressione del dolore in alcune opere del Correggio degli anni Venti." Dialoghi di Storia dell'Arte 1 (October 1995), p. 137.

Jaffé, David, et al. "The Earl and Countess of Arundel: Renaissance Collectors." Apollo 144, no. 413 (August 1996), pp. 17, 19-20, fig. viii.

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Gribbon, Deborah. "Selected Acquisitions Made by the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1995-97." Burlington Magazine 139, no. 1136 (November 1997), p. 825, fig. 13.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 28, ill.

Ekserdjian, David. Correggio. Silvia Adani and Patrizia Sgandurra, trans. (Milan: Silvana Editoriale, 1997), pp. 166, 169, fig. 189.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Paintings (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 25, no. 10, ill., entry by Denise Allen.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 100, ill.

Allen, Denise, et al. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, with Thames & Hudson, 2003), p. 26, no. 10, ill., entry by Denise Allen.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 90, ill.

Masterpieces of Art: Five Centuries of Painting and Sculpture, exh. cat. (New York: Salander-O'Reilly, 2007), unpaginated, under no. 16.

Coliva, Anna, ed. Correggio e L'Antico, exh. cat. (Milan: Federico Motta Editore, 2008), pp. 118-19, no. 17, ill., entry by Elisabetta Fadda.

Schianchi, Lucia Fornari, ed. Correggio, exh. cat. (Parma: Galleria Nazionale, with Skira, 2008), pp. 256-57, 307, no. III.5, ill., entry by Mary Vaccaro.

Ekserdjian, David, ed. Correggio e Parmigianino: Arte a Parma nel cinquecento, exh. cat. (Milan: Silvana Editoriale, 2016), pp. 93, 193-94, no. 19, ill.

Ekserdjian, David, ed. Correggio and Parmigianino: Art in Parma During the Sixteenth Century, exh. cat. (Milan: Silvana Editoriale, 2016), pp. 93, 193-94, no. 19, ill.