Mr. and Mrs. Jack Linsky, New York (by 1949–his d. 1980); Mrs. Jack Linsky, New York (1980–82)
Los Angeles County Museum. "Leonardo da Vinci," June 3–July 17, 1949, no. 47 (as by a Milanese painter of the early sixteenth century, lent by Mr. and Mrs. Jack Linsky).
THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT, BY TERMS OF ITS ACQUISITION BY THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART.
William E. Suida inLeonardo da Vinci. Exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum. Los Angeles, 1949, p. 94, no. 47, ill., as by a Milanese painter of the early sixteenth century; calls it "a somewhat free variant of a Leonardesque composition"; identifies two other Madonna paintings (Worcester Art Museum and Karlsruhe) by the same anonymous painter, and mentions four more that he feels are closely related (Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan [which he calls erroneously attributed to Bernardino dei Conti]; ex Dr. S. Meller, Paris; Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Mass.; New-York Historical Society [he rejects an attribution to Francesco Napoletano for the last two]).
Keith Christiansen inThe Jack and Belle Linsky Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1984, pp. 35–36, no. 7, ill., as by an unknown Milanese painter active during the early sixteenth century; states that the two paintings attributed by Suida [see Ref. 1949] to the same artist can no longer be identified with certainty [but see Ref. Fiorio 1992, where they are both illustrated], calls the attribution of the picture formerly in the New-York Historical Society (sold, Parke-Bernet, New York, December 2, 1971, no. 148) problematic, but does believe that the Fogg picture mentioned by Suida and the MMA painting are by the same artist; adds two more Madonna paintings to this group: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, and Pinacoteca Malaspina, Pavia; notes that although the Fogg, Rijksmuseum, and Malaspina pictures have all been called early works by Francesco Napoletano, this attribution is unlikely.
Maria Teresa Fiorio. "Lo Pseudo-Francesco Napoletano." Raccolta Vinciana 24 (1992), pp. 92, 95, 98, 100, fig. 6, attributes the MMA, ex New-York Historical Society, Fogg, Rijksmuseum, and Malaspina pictures to an artist she calls Pseudo-Francesco Napoletano, and adds to this group two more works: Gallarati Scotti, Milan, and private collection, Milan.
The panel, which has a slight concave warp, is backed with Masonite. It has probably been thinned and cut down. There are a number of minor losses, and the drawing has been reinforced in places. However, the most serious factor is the general lack of crispness and loss of such details as the veil over the Virgin's right hand, which is attributable to a combination of abrasion and solvent action. (from Christiansen 1984)
Franco Moro, in Sembrare e non essere: i falsi nell'arte e nella civiltà, eds. Mark Jones and Mario Spanol (Milan, 1993), pp. 218–21, does not specifically mention the MMA picture, but identifies the author of the group of paintings to which it belongs as a forger of the early nineteenth century.