The cloaked figure is Tobit, a devout Jew who in defiance of Sennacherib's orders directed the burial of the Jews whom the king had killed outside the walls of Nineveh (Tobit I:17–20). Andrea di Lione was in Rome in the 1640s, where he knew both Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione and Nicolas Poussin, and this work is indebted to both of those artists.
marquis de Gouvernet, Paris (by 1743–75; his estate sale, Remy, Paris, November 6–10, 1775, ms. addition to cat., p. 33, as Tobit burying the dead, by Bourdon, for 800 [?Livres or Louis]); Count Johann Rudolf Czernin von Chudenitz, Vienna (by 1808/9–d. 1845); Counts Czernin, Vienna (1845–at least 1939; cat., 1866, room 3, no. 3, as "Plague in Marseilles" by Poussin; cat., 1936, no. 4, as "Tobit Burying the Dead" by School of Poussin); [Frederick Mont, New York, in 1962, as by Andrea di Lione]; Mr. and Mrs. Paul Ganz, New York (by 1965–73; sold to Blake); Channing Blake, New York (1973–89; sold to MMA)
Vienna. Kunsthistorisches Museum. "Poussin," December 1, 1935–February 28, 1936, no. 8 (as "Tobias begräbt die Toten," lent by Graf Czernin, Vienna).
New York. Finch College Museum of Art. "Neapolitan Masters of the Seventeenth and Eigtheenth Centuries," October 31–December 15, 1962, no. 9 (lent by Frederick Mont).
Detroit Institute of Arts. "Art in Italy, 1600–1700," April 6–May 9, 1965, no. 160 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. Paul H. Ganz, New York).
Jerusalem. Israel Museum. "Landscape of the Bible: Sacred Scenes in European Master Paintings," September 5, 2000–January 2, 2001, no. 31.
Naples. Museo di Capodimonte et al. "Ritorno al barocco: da Caravaggio a Vanvitelli," December 12, 2009–April 11, 2010, no. 1.83.
P. J. Mariette. Abecedario de P. J. Mariette et autres notes inédites de cet amateur sur les arts et les artistes. Ed. Ph. de Chennevières and A. de Montaiglon. Vol. 3, Paris, 1854–56, p. 205 [this book is based on the unpublished manuscripts of P. J. Mariette (1694–1774) in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris], notes that in 1743 he saw a painting representing Tobit Burying the Dead by Andrea di Lione in the collection of the marquis de Gouvernet, Paris; comments that he would have taken it for the work of Poussin were it not signed with the artist's name.
G. F. Waagen. Die vornehmsten Kunstdenkmäler in Wien. part 1, Vienna, 1866, p. 301, includes it with works in the Czernin collection, listing the subject as Incident from a Plague in Marseilles and the artist as Poussin.
Elisabeth Harriet Denio. Nicolas Poussin. Leipzig, 1898, pp. 79–80, 134, 137, ill. between pp. 78 and 79, calls it both The Plague at Rome and The Plague at Marseilles; ascribes it to Poussin's second Roman period.
Elizabeth H. Denio. Nicolas Poussin: His Life and Work. London, 1899, pp. 134–35, 225, 232, calls it "The Plague at Rome"; states it was engraved by Gerard Audran (1640–1703).
Otto Grautoff. Nicolas Poussin: Sein Werk und sein Leben. Munich, 1914, vol. 2, p. 282, lists it, as "Die Pest in Marseille," with doubtful and incorrect attributions to Poussin, calling the composition, drawing, and body types not Poussinesque; tentatively gives it to Sebastian Bourdon.
Émile Magne. Nicolas Poussin, premier peintre du roi, 1594–1665. Brussels, 1914, p. 202, no. 93, as the "La peste à Marseille".
J. F. Reichardt. Vertraute Briefe, geschrieben auf einer Reise nach Wien und den Österreichischen Staaten zu Ende des Jahres 1808 und zu Anfang 1809. Ed. Gustav Gugitz. Munich, 1915, vol. 1, p. 180 [see Wilczek 1936], first mentions the painting in the Czernin gallery in 1808–9.
Wolfgang Born. "A Poussin Exhibition at Vienna." Burlington Magazine 68 (February 1936), p. 101, as "Tobias burying the Dead"; notes that it "cannot with absolute certainty be ascribed to Poussin, but its position near undoubted originals shows its close relationship to them"; dates it about the middle of the century.
Karl Wilczek. Katalog der Graf Czernin'schen Gemäldegalerie in Wien. Vienna, 1936, pp. 69–70, inv. no. 4, ascribes it to the school of Poussin and dates it probably 1630s; identifies the subject as Tobias [sic] burying the Jews slain by Sennacherib.
Anthony Blunt. "A Poussin-Castiglione Problem: Classicism and the Picturesque in 17th Century Rome." Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 3 (1939–40), pp. 143–47, pl. 28b, accepts Wilczek's (1936) identification of the picture's subject as Tobit burying the Jews slain by Sennacherib; ascribes it to Andrea di Lione and reproduces a number of related drawings "produced in the studio of Castiglione" as well as a drawing nearly identical in composition (Victoria and Albert Museum, London), which he attributes to di Lione; suggests that the MMA picture was produced in Rome in 1648, as Castiglione was there in that year and di Lione is known to have left Naples for a time in 1647.
Martin S. Soria. "Andrea de Leone, a Master of the Bucolic Scene." Art Quarterly 23 (Spring 1960), pp. 29, 34 nn. 33, 37.
Robert L. Manning. Neapolitan Masters of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Exh. cat., Finch College Museum of Art. New York, 1962, unpaginated, no. 9, ill.
Alfred Moir inArt in Italy, 1600–1700. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1965, p. 144, no. 160, ill., notes the influence of Salvator Rosa in the treatment of the foliage and landscape, and in Tobit's heavy drapery, observing that Rosa returned to Rome from Tuscany in 1649.
Walter Vitzthum. A Selection of Italian Drawings from North American Collections. Exh. cat., Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery. [Regina], 1970, p. 52, under no. 42, identifies a burial scene attributed to Andrea di Lione (E.B. Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento, inv. 358) as a study for this picture; notes that Pierre Rosenberg has located a further study for the MMA picture in the print room at Hamburg (inv. 24038, as by Bourdon).
Oreste Ferrari. La pittura napoletana da Luca Giordano a Domenico Antonio Vaccaro. n.p., [1971?], p. 1234.
Ann Percy inGiovanni Benedetto Castiglione: Master Draughtsman of the Italian Baroque. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1971, pp. 28, 51 nn. 51–52, mentions it with Castiglionesque works by di Lione that relate to the late 1640s.
A. Pigler. Barockthemen: Eine Auswahl von Verzeichnissen zur Ikonographie des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts. 2nd ed. [first ed. 1956]. Budapest, 1974, vol. 1, p. 186.
[Clovis Whitfield]. Master Paintings: Recent Acquisitions. Exh. cat., Thos. Agnew and Son Ltd. London, 1975, p. 33, under no. 34, states that the composition is reproduced as a bas-relief on the tomb in Lione's "Diana at the Tomb of Endymion" (oil on canvas, 28 1/2 x 44 1/2 in.).
Luigi Salerno. Pittori di paesaggio del Seicento a Roma; Landscape Painters of the Seventeenth Century in Rome. Rome, 1976–80, vol. 2, p. 516; vol. 3, p. 980 n. 7.
Annie Jolain inDictionnaire critique et documentaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs. Ed. E. Bénézit. Vol. 8, new ed. Paris, 1976, p. 461, lists it as "Scène de la peste de Marseille," by Poussin, in the Czernin collection, Vienna.
Mary Newcome. "A Castiglione-Leone Problem." Master Drawings 16 (Summer 1978), p. 163.
Ileana Creazzo inPainting in Naples 1606–1705: From Caravaggio to Giordano. Ed. Clovis Whitfield and Jane Martineau. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts. London, 1982, p. 106.
Nicola Spinosa. La pittura napoletana del '600. Milan, 1984, fig. 237.
Arnauld Brejon de Lavergnée. "Nouvelles toiles d'Andrea di Lione: essai de catalogue." Scritti di storia dell'arte in onore di Federico Zeri. Ed. Mauro Natale. Milan, 1984, vol. 2, pp. 656, 667, 670, 678 n. 56, p. 679, no. 38, figs. 654 and 658 (overall and detail), illustrates a picture of the same subject, attributed to Bourdon (Chrysler Museum, Norfolk), which the author reattributes to Andrea di Lione, calling it very close in date to the MMA work, about 1648; attributes a painting with Diana approaching the tomb of Endymion (private collection, Great Britain) to di Lione on the basis of the similarity of the figures in the bas-relief of the tomb to the principal group of figures in the MMA picture.
Mary Newcome Schleier inCiviltà del Seicento a Napoli. Exh. cat., Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte. Naples, 1984, vol. 2, p. 77, discusses it in relation to a drawing in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (cat. no. 3.19), noting the correspondence of the figures; calls the drawing in Hamburg a copy of no. 3.19, and considers the drawing in Sacramento and the one in Berlin (cat. no. 3.20) variations on the theme.
Rossana Muzii. I grandi disegni italiani nella collezione del Museo di Capodimonte a Napoli. Milan, 1987, unpaginated, mentions it in relation to a drawing attributed to di Lione in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples (cat. no. 62, inv. no. 195); believes the MMA and Chrysler pictures were produced in Rome in about 1648.
Nicola Spinosa inLa pittura in Italia: il Seicento. Ed. Mina Gregori and Erich Schleier. revised and expanded ed. Milan, 1989, vol. 2, p. 485, fig. 738, dates it to the late 1640s.
The Estate of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.: Old Master and 19th Century Paintings. Sotheby's, New York. June 1, 1989, unpaginated, under no. 67, compares it to the picture of the same subject from the Chrysler collection, citing the opinion of John T. Spike that the Chrysler work "is significantly earlier in date".
Jean-Claude Serre and Jacques Leegenhoek. Maîtres anciens du XVIe au XVIIIe siècle. Exh. cat., Société Labatut. Paris, 1990, pp. 43–44, fig. 2, under no. 11, note that the artist has borrowed the group of two figures carrying a dead man from Poussin's "The Plague at Ashdod" (Louvre, Paris); observe that the same figure group also appears in the picture formerly in the Chrysler Museum (now Mauro Herlitzka collection) and in di Lione's "Scene of the Martyrdom of the First Christians," no. 11 in their catalogue, which they date about 1634.
Keith Christiansen in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1989–1990." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 48 (Fall 1990), pp. 38–39, ill. (color), dates it to the early 1640s, noting that "despite the close relationship of the Museum's picture to the work of Castiglione, its tightly constructed composition and powerful emotional effect testify to Lione's direct knowledge of the work of Poussin".
Everett Fahy. "Selected Acquisitions of European Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987–1991." Burlington Magazine 133 (November 1991), p. 802, colorpl. IV.
John Russell. "An Assortment of Very-Welcome Summer Guests." New York Times (August 6, 1993), p. C24.
Jacques Thuillier. Nicolas Poussin. Paris, 1994, p. 270, no. R25, ill., lists it among works formerly attributed to Poussin.
Michael Jaffé. "Venetian and North Italian Schools." The Devonshire Collection of Italian Drawings. Vol. 4, London, 1994, p. 450, under no. 860, notes that the composition of this painting derives from a drawing by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione in the Devonshire collection; dates both to the late 1640s.
The Dictionary of Art. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 19, New York, 1996, p. 435, dates it to the early 1640s; mentions related drawings by both Lione and Castiglione and a print by Castiglione "which suggest a complex relationship between the two artists," but finds "the final picture, in which the figures are arranged in a frieze-like group before an architectural landscape, . . . more austere than Castiglione and closer to the ordered compositions of Poussin".
Gabriele Finaldi inLandscape of the Bible: Sacred Scenes in European Master Paintings. Ed. Gill Pessach. Exh. cat., Israel Museum. Jerusalem, 2000, pp. 108–9, no. 31, ill. (color), dates it about 1648; mentions a drawing of the Arch of Titus, recently attributed to Lione, that bears a resemblance to the triumphal arch in the MMA picture.
Stéphane Loire. "Quelques précisions sur les tableaux de la collection Mazarin." Mazarin: les lettres et les arts. Ed. Isabelle de Conihout and Patrick Michel. Paris, 2006, pp. 158, 446 n. 13, fig. 2 (color), suggests that a work of this subject attributed to Poussin included in the inventory of the Palais Mazarin after the death of Hortense Mancini (1699), niece and heir of Cardinal Mazarin, is The Met's painting, noting that although the dimensions differ (97 x 162 cm), no other work of this subject by Poussin is known.
Viviana Farina. "Sulla fortuna napoletana dei 'Baccanali' di Tiziano." Paragone 58 (January 2007), p. 28, refers to the work in the Victoria and Albert Museum as a preparatory drawing for this picture.
Arnauld Brejon de Lavergnée inRitorno al barocco: da Caravaggio a Vanvitelli. Ed. Nicola Spinosa. Exh. cat., Museo di Capodimonte et al. Naples, 2009, vol. 1, pp. 176, 178–80, no. 1.83, ill. (color).
Miriam Di Penta. "Due inediti di Andrea De Leone: nuove riflessioni sul 'Poussin-Castiglione-De Leone problem'." Storia dell'arte 125/126 (2010), pp. 95, 98–100, 105 n. 3, p. 107 n. 33, fig. 2 (color), publishes a painting of the same subject (private collection) that she attributes to Di Lione and dates between the London drawing and the MMA painting.
Nicola Spinosa. "Da Caravaggio a Massimo Stanzione." Pittura del Seicento a Napoli. Vol. 1, [Naples], 2010, pp. 50, 218–20, no. 106, ill.
Nicola Spinosa. Grazia e tenerezza "in posa": Bernardo Cavallino e il suo tempo, 1616–1656. Rome, 2013, pp. 22, 125, fig. 151 (color).
Caterina Volpi. Salvator Rosa (1615–1673): "pittore famoso". Rome, 2014, pp. 129, 453, under no. 121, relates the figures to those in Rosa's "Hero and Leander" (ca. 1643–45; private collection, England).
Miriam Di Penta. Andrea de Leone (Napoli 1610–1685): dipinti - disegni. Rome, 2016, pp. 5, 8, 34–35, 41–43, 54, 71, 96, 119–22, 130, 132, 150–51, 153, 170, no. Q.60, fig. 65 (color) and ill. p. 121 (color), dates it about 1636–38, after the version in a private collection (Q.59); calls these two works among the most significant ever produced by Lione; dates the version formerly in the Chrysler Museum, Norfolk (Q.73), about 1650 or a little later; calls the Hamburg drawing (see Vitzthum 1970) a workshop copy.
Andrea Bayer. "Better Late than Never: Collecting Baroque Painting at The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Buying Baroque: Italian Seventeenth-Century Paintings Come to America. Ed. Edgar Peters Bowron. University Park, Pa., 2017, pp. 137, 153 n. 40.
Richard E. Spear. "An Invisible Web: Art Historians Behind the Collecting of Italian Baroque Art." Buying Baroque: Italian Seventeenth-Century Paintings Come to America. Ed. Edgar Peters Bowron. University Park, Pa., 2017, pp. 62, 146 n. 32.
The composition appears to have been inspired by an engraving by Castiglione and several drawings from Castiglione's workshop (see Blunt 1939–40). Two drawings ascribed to di Lione, one in the Victoria and Albert Museum (ink and wash with red chalk, D. 1072–1900) and one in the Hamburger Kunsthalle (ink and wash, inv. no. 24038) follow this composition in all respects except in the left background where the architectural elements are different. They are usually called studies, although Newcome Schleier (1984) believes the Hamburg drawing to be a copy of the one in London. Red chalk drawings also ascribed to di Lione, an Entombment (Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, inv. no. 358) and a figure study (Museo di Capodimonte, Naples, inv. no. 195), appear to be preliminary studies for this painting.
A picture of the same subject, also by Andrea di Lione (oil on copper, 24 1/4 x 35 in.), was sold from the estate of Walter P. Chrysler Jr., Sotheby's, New York, June 1, 1989, no. 67, and was purchased by Mauro Herlitzka of Buenos Aires, the present owner. John Spike, whose opinion is cited in the sale catalogue, called it "significantly earlier in date" than the MMA picture. However, Brejon de Lavergnée (1984) and Muzii (1987) consider it very close in date to the MMA picture, dating it in or about 1648.
Di Penta (2010) publishes a painting of the same subject that she attributes to di Lione (private collection, oil on canvas, 143 x 178 cm).