The J. Paul Getty Museum

Saint Matthew Writing His Gospel

Object Details

Title:

Saint Matthew Writing His Gospel

Artist/Maker:

Carlo Dolci (Italian, 1616 - 1687)

Culture:

Italian

Date:

about 1670s

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Object Number:

69.PA.29

Dimensions:

133.7 × 113.7 cm (52 5/8 × 44 3/4 in.)

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Object Description

Carlo Dolci painted this as part of a series depicting the Four Evangelists. Matthew is depicted transcribing the opening words of his Gospel, which are accurately reproduced in Hebrew, the saint's native language. With characteristically detailed brushwork, Dolci meticulously describes the textures of the saint's wispy beard, the heavy softness of his robe, even the dirt under his fingernails.

The artist’s refined, polished canvases appealed to seventeenth-century patrons, particularly in his native Florence. This series was painted for one of his confessors (probably Domenico Carpanti) and sold to him, according to a contemporary account, for the meagre price of five scudi a piece, scarcely enough to cover the cost of the artist’s materials. Such a gesture reflects the affection felt by the pious artist for his confessor, as well as his need to establish a reputation for himself at this early stage of his career.

Provenance
Provenance
about 1670s - by 1677

Canonico Carpanti (possibly Florence, Italy)
Source: Baldinucci, Notizie (ed. 1847), vol. 5, p. 341.

by 1677 - still in 1680s

Giovanni Batista Galli, Italian (Florence, Italy)
Source: Cinelli, Le belezze (1677), p. 370.

by 1729 -

Cosimo Riccardi, 1671 - 1751 (Florence, Italy)
Source: Firenze Archivio di Stato, Riccardi 274.

by 1767 -

Giuseppe Riccardi, 1744 - 1798 (Florence, Italy), by inheritance within the Riccardi family.
Source: Bonsi, Il trionfo delle bell'arti (1767), pp. 16, 18.

- 1810

Riccardi Family, sold to Lucien Bonaparte, 1810.

1810 - 1815/1816

Prince Lucien Bonaparte of Canino and Musignano, 1775 - 1840 (Paris, France; Rome, Italy), painting confiscated by the British with other saints in series; sold to Simon Haughton Clarke, 1815/1816.

1815/1816 - 1840

Sir Simon Haughton Clarke, 9th Bart., 1764 - 1832 (London, England) [sold, Clarke sale, Christie's, London, May 9, 1840, lot 92, to Dominick Artaria.]

1840 -

Dominick Artaria (Mannheim, Germany)

by 1849 -

Sir Samuel Scott, 2nd Bart., 1772 - 1849, by inheritance within the Scott family.

-

Scott Family, by inheritance to Edward Scott.

- 1924

Sir Edward Henry Scott, 5th Bart., 1842 - 1883 [sold, Scott sale, Christie's, London, July 4, 1924, by Order of the Trustees of the will of the late Sir Edward Scott at the request of Sir Samuel Scott, lot 140, to Walker.]

1924 -
- 1964

Leon Medina (Puerto Rico; New York, New York) [sold, Medina sale, Marvin H. Newman, Beverly Hills, February 24, 1964, lot 314, to Henry Drake.]
Note: as "School of Carlo Dolci, Italian, late 18th-century, Prophet and Angel"

1964 - 1969

Henry Drake (Los Angeles, California), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1969.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Chiostro della SS Annunziata (1729)
  • Chiostro della SS Annunziata (Florence), 1729
Chiostro della SS Annunziata (1767)
  • Chiostro della SS Annunziata (Florence), 1767
Pictures of the Italian, Spanish, Flemish, and Dutch Schools (January 1822) (Cat. 80)
  • British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom (London), 1822
Pictures by Italian, Spanish, Flemish, Dutch, and French Masters (January 1838) (Cat. 48)
  • British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom (London), 1838
Pictures by Italian, Spanish, Flemish, Dutch, French, and English Masters (January 1860)
  • British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom (London), 1860
The J. Paul Getty Collection (June 29 to September 3, 1972)
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis), June 29 to September 3, 1972
The Medici's Painter: Carlo Dolci and 17th-Century Florence (February 10, 2017 to January 14, 2018)
  • The Davis Museum at Wellesley College (Wellesley), February 10 to July 9, 2017
  • Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University (Durham), August 24, 2017 to January 14, 2018
Bibliography
Bibliography

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Nota de' quadri e opere di scultura espositi per la festa di S. Luca dagli accademici del disegno (Florence: Stamperia di sua altezza reale, 1729), p. 33.

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Bonsi, Bonso Pio. Il trionfo delle bell'arti: renduto gloriosissimo sotto gli auspicj delle LL. AA. RR. Pietro Leopoldo, arciduca d'Austria, principe reale d'Ungheria, e di Boemia, granduca di Toscana ec. ec. ec. e Maria Luisa di Borbone, arciduchessa d'Austria, gran-duchessa di Toscana, ec. ec. ec. in occasione, che gli accademici del disegno in dimostrazione di profondo rispetto verso i lor sovrani, fanno la solenne mostra delle opere antiche di più eccellenti artifici nella propria cappella, e nel chiostro secondo de' PP. della SS. Nonziata in Firenze l'anno 1767, exh. cat. (Florence: Gio. Batista Stecchi and Anton Giuseppe Pagani, 1767), pp. 16, 18.

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