Cigoli, a painter of considerable intellectual accomplishment and a friend of the great scientist and astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564–1642), was the key artist in Florence in the late sixteenth century. This altarpiece was painted at the height of Cigoli’s career and introduced to Florentine painting a new emotional warmth and emphasis on color, based on the work of of Barocci and Titian. Some of the details are taken directly from nature, such as the still life around the Christ Child and the rustic figures at the right. Cigoli’s work emphasizes the study of nature together with the work of the masters of the High Renaissance.
Inscription: Signed, dated, and inscribed: (lower right) LC [monogram] / 1599; (top, on banderole) GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO
probably by descent to Beilby Lawley, 3rd Baron Wenlock, London (?1880–d. 1912; inv., late 19th century); Hon. Irene Lawley, later Hon. Mrs. Forbes Adam, Escrick Park, Yorkshire (by 1913–54; inv., March 1913; sale, Sotheby's, London, May 12, 1954, no. 81, for £50.0.0 to Appleby [Weitzner]); [Julius Weitzner, New York, 1954; sold to Chrysler]; Walter P. Chrysler Jr., Norfolk, Va. (1954–d. 1988; posthumous sale, Sotheby's, New York, January 11, 1990, no. 69, for $132,000 to Corsini); [Piero Corsini, New York, 1990–91; sold to MMA]
New York. Piero Corsini, Inc. "Important Old Master Paintings: Within the Image," Fall 1990, unnumbered cat.
Anna Matteoli. Lodovico Cardi-Cigoli pittore e architetto. Pisa, 1980, p. 128, knows this painting only from photographs; relates it to a painting of the same subject, dated 1604, in the church of St. Francis of Assisi, Pisa.
Miles L. Chappell inIl Seicento Fiorentino: Arte a Firenze da Ferdinando I a Cosimo III. Exh. cat., Palazzo Strozzi. Vol. 2, "Disegno/Incisione/Scultura/Arti minori."Florence, 1986, p. 122, under no. 2.69, as one of six known painted treatments of this subject.
Franco Faranda. Ludovico Cardi, detto il Cigoli. Rome, 1986, pp. 145, 174, no. 45, ill., knows this painting only from photographs; compares the face of the Madonna to another female figure in a painting in Pistoia of the "Birth of the Madonna"; notes that there is a copy by Cristoforo Allori in the Monti collection, Rome.
Frank Dabell. Important Old Master Paintings: Within the Image. Exh. cat., Piero Corsini, Inc. New York, 1990, pp. 58–61, colorpl. 11, notes that until now the painting was known only from photographs; calls it an example of Cigoli's mature style; notes the presence of a hedgehog on a shield in the lower left corner of the painting, which may be a reference to the Ricciardi family of Arezzo or the Ricci family of Pistoia; says that a drawing in the Louvre (inv. 916r) is preparatory to this painting.
Roberto Contini. Il Cigoli. Soncino, 1991, p. 74, under no. 18.
Andrea Giussani inPittura italiana dal '300 al '500. Ed. Mauro Natale. Milan, 1991, p. 98, ill. (color).
Everett Fahy. "Selected Acquisitions of European Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987–1991." Burlington Magazine 133 (November 1991), p. 802, colorpl. III.
Keith Christiansen in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1991–1992." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 50 (Fall 1992), p. 28, ill. (color).
Miles L. Chappell. Disegni di Lodovico Cigoli (1559–1613). Exh. cat., Galleria degli Uffizi. Florence, 1992, p. 96, under no. 57, associates this painting with a drawing of the same subject in the Uffizi.
Miles L. Chappell. "Proposals for Cigoli." Paragone 46 (September 1995), pp. 41, 50 n. 16, lists our painting as one of the versions of this subject that Cigoli painted at the end of the sixteenth century; the other two listed are in the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Conn., and in the church of San Francesco in Pisa.
Eileen Reeves. Painting the Heavens: Art and Science in the Age of Galileo. Princeton, 1997, pp. 15, 24–25, 38–41, 46, 55, 132, 234 n. 40, colorpl. 1, argues that the moon included in the background of the painting is evidence of Cigloi's interest in astronomy and Galileo's findings about heliocentrism.
Francesca Baldassari. La pittura del Seicento a Firenze: indice degli artisti e delle loro opere. [Milan], 2009, p. 182, pl. 51.
Artist: Cigoli (Ludovico Cardi) (Italian, Castello di Cigoli 1559–1613 Rome)Date: 1590–1610Medium: Pen and dark brown ink, brush and brown wash, over leadpoint or black chalk, on three glued pieces of paperAccession: 1998.54On view in:Not on view
Artist: Cigoli (Ludovico Cardi) (Italian, Castello di Cigoli 1559–1613 Rome)Date: 1607–1613Medium: Point of brush, blue wash, highlighted with white, over black chalk, on blue paperAccession: 1981.128On view in:Not on view
Artist: Cigoli (Ludovico Cardi) (Italian, Castello di Cigoli 1559–1613 Rome)Date: 1559–1613Medium: Oil paint on a sheet of paper that had previous writing by the artist in pen and brown ink (surface varnished)Accession: 1987.198On view in:Not on view
Artist: Cigoli (Ludovico Cardi) (Italian, Castello di Cigoli 1559–1613 Rome)Date: n.d.Medium: Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, over black chalk; squared in pen and brown ink; accidental white paint stains (recto); pen and brown ink (verso)Accession: 2006.393.5a, bOn view in:Not on view