Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Burial of Christ

Annibale Carracci (Italian, Bologna 1560–1609 Rome)
Oil on copper
17 1/4 x 13 3/4 in. (43.8 x 34.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Edwin L. Weisl Jr. Gift, 1998
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 623
This deeply moving picture was painted for one of Carracci’s patrons, Astorre di Vincenzo Sampieri, a canon of the cathedral of San Pietro in Bologna. Intended as a gift for an important figure in Rome, it was retained by Sampieri, who sent a copy of it by Guido Reni instead. We view the dramatic event from within the burial chamber, the figures lit by torch; through an opening the holy women can be seen against a dawn-lit landscape. The picture was much admired. At least seven copies are known in addition to the one Sampieri sent to Rome.
abbate Astorre di Vincenzo Sampieri, Bologna (from 1595); Sampieri collection, Bologna (until 1811; cat., 1795, p. 19; sold to Beauharnais); Prince Eugène de Beauharnais, Viceroy of Italy, later Herzog von Leuchtenberg, Munich (1811–d. 1824; cat., 1825, no. 15); Herzogen von Leuchtenberg, Munich and St. Petersburg (1824–at least 1870; cat., 1851, no. 69); [Schwarz, Philadelphia, bought in Philadelphia before 1965, until 1990; sold to Osuna]; [Osuna Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1990–at least 1992; as by Badalocchio]; sale, Christie's, New York, May 22, 1998, no. 74, as Attributed to Sisto Badalocchio, to Katrin Bellinger for MMA
Washington. Osuna Gallery. "Four Centuries of European Paintings," 1992, no. 5 (as "The Entombment," by Sisto Badalocchio).

Gio[vanni]. Pietro Bellori. Vita di Guido Reni, d'Andrea Sacchi e di Carlo Maratti. n.d., c. 6 [Bibliothèque Municipale, Rouen, ms. 2506; published in Michelangelo Piacentini, ed. "Le vite inedite del Bellori," Rome, 1942, p. 7]; or p. 2v [published in E. Borea, ed. "Le vite de' pittori, scultori e architetti moderni," Turin, 1976, p. 490], mentions it as "la Deposizione di Croce dell'Abbate San Pieri," a work of Annibale Carracci copied by Reni.

Carlo Cesare Malvasia. Felsina pittrice: vite de' pittori bolognesi. Bologna, 1678, vol. 1, p. 502; vol. 2, p. 8 [1841 ed., Bologna, ed. Giampietro Zanotti, vol. 1, p. 359; vol. 2, p. 8], relates that Annibale painted a Burial of Christ on copper for his friend Sampieri to give as a gift to an unnamed important person in Rome, but that Sampieri kept the painting and had a copy made by Guido Reni; lists the copy by Guido in the Palazzo del Giardino, Parma.

Sir Joshua Reynolds. Notebook. 1752, c. 86v [Sir John Soane's Museum, London; published in Giovanna Perini, "Sir Joshua Reynolds a Bologna (1752)," Storia dell'arte 73 (1991), p. 395], records the presence of this painting in the Palazzo Sampieri describing it as "laying Christ in the sepulchr [sic], Annibale".

[Charles Nicolas] Cochin. Voyage d'Italie, ou recueil de notes sur les ouvrages de peinture & de sculpture, qu'on voit dans les principales villes d'Italie. Paris, 1758, vol. 2, p. 170, no. 7, having seen this picture in the Palazzo Sampieri in 1751, describes it as very beautiful but very dark.

Marcello Oretti. Le pitture che si vedono nelle case e palazzi de nobili della città di Bologna. n.d., ff. 43–44 [Biblioteca Comunale, Bologna; ms. B. 104], lists it in the Palazzo Sampieri as a copy by Guido Reni after Annibale Carracci; wrongly interprets Malvasia's text [see Ref. 1678], stating that, contrary to prevailing opinion, Malvasia thought the Sampieri picture to be by Reni.

Descrizione italiana e francese di tutto ciò, che si contiene nella Galleria del Sig. Marchese Senatore Luigi Sampieri. Bologna, [1795], p. 19 [see Ref. Tuyll van Serooskerken 1980], describes it as "la Deposizione di Cristo nel Sepolcro, con Cinque Figure, di Annibale Caracci".

[Johann Nepomuk] Muxel. Verzeichniss der Bildergallerie seiner koeniglichen hoheit des Prinzen Eugen, Herzogs von Leuchtenberg in Muenchen. Munich, 1843, p. 24, no. 15 [1st ed., 1825].

J. D. Passavant. Gemälde-Sammlung Seiner Kaiserl. Hoheit des Herzogs von Leuchtenberg in München. 2nd ed. Frankfurt am Main, 1851, p. 14, no. 69, pl. 69 (engraving by Muxel) [English ed., 1852, p. 12, no. 69, pl. 69], as by Annibale Carracci.

G[ustav]. F[riedrich]. Waagen. Die Gemäldesammlung in der Kaiserlichen Eremitage zu St. Petersburg. 2nd ed. St. Petersburg, 1870, p. 378.

J[ames]. Byam Shaw. Paintings by Old Masters at Christ Church Oxford. London, 1967, p. 103, under no. 185, mentions it as formerly in the Leuchtenberg collection, Munich; lists other versions of the composition and suggests that the prototype may have been a lost work by Annibale Carracci.

Evelina Borea. Pittori bolognesi del seicento nelle gallerie di Firenze. Exh. cat., Galleria degli Uffizi. Florence, 1975, p. 81, under no. 62.

Carel van Tuyll van Serooskerken. "Badalocchio's 'Entombment of Christ' from Reggio: A New Document and Some Related Paintings." Burlington Magazine 122 (March 1980), pp. 185–86, fig. 37 (engraving), proposes that this picture (i.e., the painting formerly in the Leuchtenberg collection) is the work painted for Sampieri by Annibale and is the "lost" prototype for a group of paintings of similar composition; notes that from Malvasia's text [see Ref. 1678], the picture must date from 1595; suggests that it was probably included among the works bought from the Sampieri collection in 1811 by Eugène de Beauharnais.

Emilia Calbi and Daniela Scaglietti Kelescian, ed. Marcello Oretti e il patrimonio artistico privato bolognese. Bologna, 1984, p. 162.

Baroque Paintings. Exh. cat., Piero Corsini. New York, 1992, pp. 10, 48 n. 3, under no. 2, mentions it as a lost work possibly by Annibale formerly in the Leuchtenberg collection.

Four Centuries of European Paintings. Exh. cat., Osuna Gallery. Washington, 1992, p. ?, no. 5, ill. (color), as by Sisto Badalocchio.

Important Old Master Paintings. Christie's, New York. May 22, 1998, pp. 86–87, no. 74, ill. (color), as Attributed to Sisto Badalocchio, after a lost composition by Annibale Carracci.

Paul Jeromack. "New York Sales in Focus." Art Newspaper no. 83 (July–August 1998), p. 41, ill.

Keith Christiansen. "Annibale Carracci's 'Burial of Christ' Rediscovered." Burlington Magazine 141 (July 1999), pp. 414–18, fig. 31 (color), discusses the attribution, provenance, and biographical sources relating to the picture, which he ascribes to Annibale Carracci and dates about 1594–95.

Nicholas Turner. Federico Barocci. Paris, 2000, p. 162, fig. 138, believes that the compositional structure is based on Barocci's Entombment (1579–82; Santa Croce, Senigallia).

Clare Robertson. The Invention of Annibale Carracci. Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, 2008, p. 100, colorpl. 83a.

Mattia Biffis. "A Rediscovered 'St Jerome' on Copper by Guido Reni and its Early Provenance." Burlington Magazine 158 (August 2016), p. 614.

A number of copies and variant copies of this composition exist (see Tuyll van Serooskerken 1980). The finest of these is a painting in the Dulwich Picture Gallery ascribed to Sisto Badalocchio. A drawing after the picture, probably by Badalocchio, is in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg. A preparatory drawing for the figure of Christ was sold at Christie's, London, on July 6, 1982, no. 35, incorrectly ascribed to Cavedone. Guido Reni also copied the picture (see Malvasia 1678).
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