Brownlow Cecil, 9th Earl of Exeter. note written in copy of Orlandi's "Abecedario Pittorico," Venice, 1753. 1775 [Burghley House, Stamford, England; published in Ref. Christie's 2007], as "Mary Supported by Angels, holding the body of Our Saviour on her knee, two infant angels at His feet, Jos: of Aramathea with a vause of oinment looking, by An: Caracci, at G. Aufrères Esq. in Chelsea. A capital performance of the master, 1775".
manuscript addition to "Catalogue of Mr. Aufrere's Pictures at Chelsea," [London?], 1790. [1790 or later] [published in Ref. Christie's 2007], as in the dining room, "Annibale Carache—The Virgin and the Body of our Saviour with Mary Magdalen Joseph of Arimathea & 2 Boys at the feet of Christ".
[Gustav Friedrich] Waagen. Treasures of Art in Great Britain. London, 1854, vol. 2, p. 87, lists it in Lord Yarborough's collection, as "A Pietà; a carefully finished cabinet picture," by Annibale Carracci.
[Gustav Friedrich] Waagen. Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain. London, 1857, p. 66, as by Annibale Carracci, referring to it as a cabinet-size example on wood [sic] of the full-size composition; as in the earl's London house.
Donald Posner. Annibale Carracci: A Study in the Reform of Italian Painting around 1590. New York, 1971, vol. 2, p. 61, under no. 136, pl. 136b, as in the collection of the Earl of Yarborough, formerly with P. M. Turner; identifies it as a copy after Annibale Carracci's Pietà in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, proposing that the MMA picture records the original appearance of the Louvre work, in which the figure of Joseph of Arimathea was later replaced with Saint Francis; believes that the Louvre painting was commissioned in about 1602, brought to a partial state of completion, and then reworked and completed in 1607; bases this dating on the style of the work, on the date of 1603 appearing on the MMA picture, and on two letters, one dated 1607, that mention the altarpiece being installed in the Mattei chapel in San Francesco a Ripa, Rome [see Notes].
Gianfranco Malafarina in L'opera completa di Annibale Carracci. Milan, 1976, p. 122, under no. 128, fig. 128(1).
Richard E. Spear. Domenichino. New Haven, 1982, vol. 1, pp. 10, 49, 131, 175, no. 9; vol. 2, pl. 10, attributes it to Domenichino on stylistic grounds, comparing it with his "Christ at the Column" (now Barbara Piasecka Johnson collection, Lawrenceville, N.J.) and "Susanna and the Elders" (Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome), both also dated 1603; adds that the date in Roman numerals inscribed on the work also points to Domenichino; follows Posner [see Ref. 1971] in calling it a copy after the Louvre painting, which he dates 1602–7 and believes originally included a figure of Joseph of Arimathea in place of Saint Francis; ascribes workshop assistance, but not that of Domenichino, to Carracci's altarpiece in the Louvre; notes that Domenichino also made a lost copy after Carracci's Pietà of 1604 now in the National Gallery, London, and discusses differences between the two Carracci pictures and the two by Domenichino; provides provenance information.
Elizabeth Cropper in The Dictionary of Art. 9, New York, 1996, p. 88.
Stéphane Loire. "Bologne." École italienne, XVIIe siècle. 1, Paris, 1996, pp. 133–34, 136, fig. 53, states that x-rays of the Louvre picture reveal that the figure of Saint Francis is original to the composition [see Ref. Posner 1971].
Almamaria Mignosi Tantillo in Domenichino, 1581–1641. Exh. cat., Palazzo Venezia, Rome. Milan, 1996, pp. 27, 54 n. 32.
Richard E. Spear in Domenichino, 1581–1641. Exh. cat., Palazzo Venezia, Rome. Milan, 1996, pp. 380, 382–83, 540, no. 7, ill. (color), having formerly ruled out Domenichino's assistance on Carracci's altarpiece in the Louvre [see Ref. Spear 1982], now suggests that the inclusion of the Carracci in the present exhibition provides the opportunity to reconsider that opinion.
Giulio Bora and Dominique Radrizzani in Cinq siècles de dessins: collections du Musée Jenisch. Exh. cat., Musée Jenisch. Vevey, 1997, pp. 36, 39, fig. 1, publish Carracci's compositional drawing, which they date 1602, for his painting in the Louvre, referring to Domenichino's picture as a copy after the drawing rather than the painting; suggest that Domenichino replaced the figure of Saint Francis with that of Joseph of Arimathea because the latter fit better within the iconographical context of the work.
Stéphane Loire. "Rome: Domenichino." Burlington Magazine 139 (March 1997), p. 221, calls it "almost tender when compared with its model . . . by Annibale".
D. Stephen Pepper. "Caravaggio, Carracci and the Cerasi Chapel." Studi di storia dell'arte in onore di Denis Mahon. Milan, 2000, p. 121 n. 18, agrees with Bora and Radrizzani [see Ref. 1997] that Domenichino's picture was copied from Carracci's compositional drawing in Vevey, not from the painting in the Louvre; states that Bora and Radrizzani suggest that Domenichino replaced Saint Francis with Joseph of Arimathea in order to make his picture more saleable, adding that both he and Denis Mahon, with whom he has discussed the matter, agree with this explanation.
Anne Summerscale. Malvasia's Life of the Carracci: Commentary and Translation. University Park, Pa., 2000, p. 241 n. 345, mentions it as a copy after the Louvre painting.
Denis Mahon in Il San Giovanni Battista ritrovato: la tradizione classica in Annibale Carracci e in Caravaggio. Exh. cat., Musei Capitolini, Rome. Milan, 2001, pp. 21, 26 n. 16.
Almamaria Mignosi Tantillo. "La Cappella Cerasi: vicende di una decorazione." Caravaggio Carracci Maderno: la Cappella Cerasi in Santa Maria del Popolo a Roma. Cinisello Balsamo (Milan), 2001, p. 74 n. 18, questions the idea that it was copied from Carracci's compositional drawing in Vevey, stating that the colors and details of finish seem to depend from Carracci's Louvre painting.
Clovis Whitfield. "Landscape Paintings and Drawings by Antonio Carracci." Paragone 57 (November 2006), p. 3, pl. 2, mentions it as a copy after Carracci's painting in the Louvre; believes that the date on the letter referring to the altarpiece [see Ref. Loire 1996 and Notes] has been mistranscribed and actually reads 1602 rather than 1607.
Important Old Master & British Pictures Including Property from the Collection of Jacques Goudstikker. Christie's, London. July 5, 2007, pp. 18–23, no. 40, ill. in color (overall and details, and overall on cover), provides extensive provenance details.
Everett Fahy in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2007–2008." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 66 (Fall 2008), p. 21, ill. (color).
Clare Robertson. The Invention of Annibale Carracci. Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, 2008, p. 129 n. 157, agrees with Spear [see Ref. 1982] that it records Annibale's original composition.
Keith Christiansen in Philippe de Montebello and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977–2008. New York, 2009, p. 37.
Roberto Zapperi. "Annibale Carracci e Odoardo Farnese." Bollettino d'arte 95 (October–December 2010), p. 84.
Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale.July 8, 2014, p. 146, under no. 40.