Roger Portalis. Honoré Fragonard, sa vie et son oeuvre. Paris, 1889, vol. 2, p. 279, as "Intérieur rustique italien," with Moreau-Chaslon.
Charles Sterling. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of French Paintings. Vol. 1, XV–XVIII Centuries. Cambridge, Mass., 1955, pp. 152–53, ill., as "The Italian Family"; finds it close to the "Washerwomen" in the City Art Museum, St. Louis; notes that before Fragonard went to Italy he copied Rembrandt's Holy Family in the Crozat collection, Paris; dates our picture after his first trip between 1761 and 1764, and sees in it the influence of Piazzetta, Johann Liss, and Pietro da Cortona.
Louis Réau. Fragonard, sa vie et son oeuvre. Brussels, 1956, pp. 168, 270.
Georges Wildenstein. The Paintings of Fragonard, Complete Edition. London, 1960, pp. 24, 279, no. 365, pl. 73, groups it with pictures made during the second Italian journey, 1773 to 1776; notes that towards the end of 1774 Fragonard painted "a dozen pictures" on a single theme, "The Washerwomen" or "The Village Interior"; detects "the influence of someone asking for saleable pictures and for variants which Fragonard himself would, perhaps, not have painted"; publishes two others, which he calls "Village Interior or The Happy Mother," one formerly with the marquis de Ganay, Paris (no. 364), the other formerly with the marquis de Larios, Madrid (no. 363).
Jacques Thuillier. Fragonard. English ed. Geneva, 1967, p. 49, notes that such typically Italian subjects as this "must date from Fragonard's first stay in Rome . . . though to please art lovers he may have done replicas of some of them in Paris".
Carla Lord in Masters of the Loaded Brush. Exh. cat., M. Knoedler & Co. New York, 1967, pp. 94–95, no. 69, ill., due to its lack of finish, judges our picture to be the first of three versions, identifying the others as Wildenstein nos. 363 and 364; agrees that the artist may have been inspired by Rembrandt's Holy Family, and also by Crespi's family groups, which he would have seen in Bologna in 1761; places it probably after Fragonard's first trip to Italy.
Gabriele Mandel in L'opera completa di Fragonard. Milan, 1972, pp. 102–3, no. 388, ill., lists it with works from Fragonard's second trip to Italy, and identifies it as probably a preliminary study for Wildenstein nos. 364 and 363.
Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, p. 364, fig. 660, dates it about 1760?.
Denys Sutton. Fragonard. Exh. cat., National Museum of Western Art. Tokyo, 1980, unpaginated, discussed under no. 55, refers to it as "certainly the freest of the three" and perhaps his first idea for the subject.
Eric M. Zafran. The Rococo Age: French Masterpieces of the Eighteenth Century. Exh. cat., High Museum of Art. Atlanta, 1983, pp. 116–17, discusses it in relation to the painting of Washerwomen in Saint Louis, dating these works shortly after Fragonard's visit to Venice in 1761.
Pierre Cabanne. Fragonard. Paris, 1987, p. 109, describes the improvised, "Impressionistic" quality of the picture.
Jean-Pierre Cuzin. Jean-Honoré Fragonard: Vie et oeuvre, catalogue complet des peintures. Fribourg, Switzerland, 1987, p. 273, no. 74, ill. p. 273 and fig. 60, dates it about 1759–60.
Pierre Rosenberg. Fragonard. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1988, p. 92, fig. 2, as "The Happy Mother"; compares it to the similar painting in a private collection, Paris [Wildenstein no. 364]; notes that although it is more sketchy and improvised, the condition makes it difficult to tell whether or not it is earlier; notes that the relining of the MMA picture "crushed" Fragonard's impasto, but that the Paris version is in perfect state; dates both to about 1760; illustrates the other version of Wildenstein no. 364 as "Attributed to Fragonard".
Jean-Pierre Cuzin and Pierre Rosenberg in J. H. Fragonard e H. Robert a Roma. Exh. cat., Villa Medici. Rome, 1990, pp. 29, 91–92, no. 38, ill., identify two versions as by Fragonard, the present picture and Wildenstein no. 364; describe Wildenstein no. 363 as of doubtful authenticity.
Ewa Lajer-Burcharth. "Fragonard in Detail." Differences 14 (Fall 2003), pp. 51–52, fig. 14, describes the erotic nature of Fragonard's vision.
Ewa Lajer-Burcharth. "Genre and Sex." French Genre Painting in the Eighteenth Century. Ed. Philip Conisbee. Washington, 2007, pp. 204–5, 207–10, fig. 10, argues for the organic, generative nature of Fragonard's depiction of the subject.