Pope Clement VIII. Papal visit. January 4, 1594 [Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, Rome, FG 545, 8a; see Ref. Bailey 2003, pp. 211, 346 n. 165], remarks that the Magdalen should be altered to have a more devout appearance.
Jesuit memorial. [17th century] [Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, Rome, FG 545, 2a; published in Ref. Bailey 2003, pp. 209, 344 n. 146], states that the Cappella della Passione in Il Gesù was painted by Pulzone, with other works in the chapel by Gaspare Celio after designs by Fiammeri.
Jesuit memorial. ca. 1616 [Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, Rome, AG Busta I, 78; published in Ref. Bailey 2003, pp. 209, 344 n. 141], notes that the patron of the chapel was Bianca Mellini Lomellini and that work was begun before 1595.
Gaspare Celio. Memoria delli nomi dell'artefici delle pitture, che sono in alcune chiese, facciate, e palazzi di Roma. repr., 1967. Naples, 1638, p. 41, lists it as by Scipione Pulzone above the altar in the Cappella della Passione in Il Gesù; notes that the ceiling fresco and wall paintings are by himself.
Gio[vanni]. Baglione. Le vite de' pittori, scultori et architetti: dal Pontificato di Gregorio XIII del 1572 in fino a' tempi di Papa Urbano Ottavo nel 1642. Rome, 1642, pp. 54, 83, describes it as in the second chapel on the right in Il Gesù, and attributes it to Scipione Pulzone; credits Giuseppe Valeriano with the design of the paintings executed by Celio.
Giov. Battista Mola. Breve racconto delle miglior opere d'architettura, scultura et pittura fatte in Roma et alcuni fuor di Roma. 1663, p. 189 [Biblioteca Vaticana and Biblioteca Comunale, Viterbo; published in Quellen und Schriften zur bildenden Kunst, vol. 1, ed. Karl Noehles, 1966, Berlin, p. 118].
Filippo Titi. Studio di pittura, scoltura, et architettura, nelle chiese di Roma. Roma, 1674 [reprint, Bruno Contardi and Serena Romano, eds., Florence, 1987, vol. 1, p. 100], attributes the altarpiece to Pulzone and the other paintings to Celio after designs by Fiammeri.
Filippo Titi. Ammaestramento utile, e curioso di pittura scoltura et architettura nelle chiese di Roma. Rome, 1686, p. 149.
Filippo de' Rossi. Descrizione di Roma moderna formata nvovamente. Rome, 1697, p. 532.
Filippo de' Rossi. "Descrizione di Roma moderna." Descrizione di Roma antica; Descrizione di Roma moderna. 2, Rome, 1708, p. 558.
Ottavio Pancirolo, Francesco Cecconi, and Francesco Posterla. Roma sacra, e moderna: già descritta dal Pancirolo ed accresciuta da Francesco Posterla. Rome, 1725, p. 606.
Pietro Rossini. Il Mercurio errante. 7th ed. Rome, 1750, p. 161.
Filippo Titi. Descrizione delle pitture, sculture, e architetture esposte al pubblico in Roma. Rome, 1763, p. 173.
Catalogue des tableaux composant la galerie de feu son éminence le cardinal Fesch. Rome, 1841, p. 100, no. 2419, as "'Jésus mort est déposé sur les genoux de la Vierge.' Les personnages de ce tableau sont plus grands que nature. Cette composition due au pinceau de Scipion Gaetano, se fait remarquer par sa belle entente et une profonde expression de douleur. Le style en est noble et large, le coloris d'un beau ton, et l'exécution parfaite dans toutes les parties," 8 pieds 9 pouces high by 5 pieds 9 pouces wide.
Pio Pecchiai. Il Gesù di Roma. Rome, 1952, pp. 93, 105–6, states that when it was removed from the chapel, it was replaced by a wooden crucifix.
Federico Zeri. Pittura e controriforma: l'arte senza tempo di Scipione da Gaeta. Turin, 1957, pp. 68–69, 73, 79, 82–83, 111 n. 47, figs. 90 and 91 (overall and detail), as signed and dated 1591; says that it was removed from the altar of the Chapel of the Passion in the seventeenth century and that he rediscovered it in a private collection in New York; notes the importance of the guidance and ideas of the Jesuit architect Valeriano who also acted as Pulzone's agent for this picture; discusses the eclecticism of the painting's sources but stresses that a classicizing ideal predominates.
Milton Joseph Lewine. "The Roman Church Interior, 1527–1580." PhD diss., Columbia University, 1960, p. 247, notes that this altarpiece was replaced by a painting of Saint Francis Borgia by Andrea Pozzo sometime between 1674 and 1686, and that the Pozzo was later replaced by a gilded wooden crucifix.
S. J. Freedberg. Painting in Italy: 1500 to 1600. Harmondsworth, England, 1971, p. 459.
Howard Hibbard. "'Ut picturae sermones': The First Painted Decorations of the Gesù." Baroque Art: The Jesuit Contribution. New York, 1972, pp. 38, 44, fig. 27, calls the picture "moving and sharply focused," and suggests that its concentrated emotionality foreshadows the late Pietàs of Annibale Carracci.
Maria Letizia Casanova. Arte a Gaeta: dipinti dal XII al XVIII secolo. Exh. cat., Palazzo De Vio, Gaeta. Florence, 1976, p. 92.
Erasmo Vaudo. Scipione Pulzone da Gaeta, pittore. Gaeta, 1976, pp. 37–38, fig. 39, discusses this picture in relation to Counter-Reformation aesthetics.
Morton Colp Abromson Columbia University. Painting in Rome during the Papacy of Clement VIII (1592–1605): A Documented Study. New York, 1981, pp. 226–27.
Luigi Spezzaferro. "Il recupero del Rinascimento." Storia dell'arte italiana. part 2, vol. 2, part 1, Turin, 1981, pp. 234, 238.
Keith Christiansen in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1983–1984. New York, 1984, pp. 62–63, ill. (color), states that it is dated 1591, but was underway in 1590 when Scipione received partial payment for the altarpiece; calls it one of Pulzone's most affecting works and stresses that it fulfills the ideals of the first building campaign at Il Gesù; suggests that the artist's signature on the hem of the cloth that Joseph of Arimathea wraps around Christ's torso points to the special importance that the artist attached to this work.
Alessandro Zuccari in The Age of Caravaggio. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pp. 172–73, no. 50, ill. (color) [Italian ed., "Caravaggio e il suo tempo," Naples, 1985], discusses the iconography in terms of Saint Ignatius's "Spiritual Exercises" and associates the composition with the Saint's method of the "compositio loci".
Andrea Bacchi et al. in La pittura in Italia: il Cinquecento. revised and expanded ed. [Milan], 1988, vol. 2, p. 462, notes that here Pulzone adopted a pictorial idiom rich in pathos, perhaps after coming in contact with the Lombard Giovan Battista Pozzo, who painted the angels in the vault of the Madonna della Strada chapel, also in the Gesù.
Anna Lo Bianco in La pittura in Italia: il Cinquecento. revised and expanded ed. [Milan], 1988, vol. 2, p. 815.
J. Patrice Marandel in Jesuit Art in North American Collections. Exh. cat., Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University. Milwaukee, 1991, pp. 17, 23, 45, no. 10, ill. (overall) and color detail on cover.
S. J. Freedberg. Painting in Italy 1500–1600. 3rd ed. New Haven, 1993, pp. 661, 664, discusses it along with Pulzone's other works of the period, noting that the schematization of these pictures conveys "after the first impact, a sense of vacancy".
Laura Russo in Roma di Sisto V: Le arti e la cultura. Exh. cat., Palazzo Venezia, Rome. Rome, 1993, pp. 173, 175, dates it 1597 and notes its importance in understanding the artistic relationship between Pulzone and Giuseppe Valeriano.
Augusto Donò. "Scipione Pulzone (1545–1598), il pittore della 'Madonna della Divina Provvidenza'." Barnabiti Studi 13 (1996), pp. 17–18, 72–74, no. 36 II.
Loren Partridge. The Art of Renaissance Rome 1400–1600. New York, 1996, pp. 98–99, 101, ill. (color), sees it is an example of "arte senza tempo" (art without time)—vaguely classicizing, neither modern nor historical variations on works of the high renaissance which, remain "the basis of much saccharine religious art to this day"; observes that works of this kind, in the decorously restrained and simpler style of the Counter Reformation, was intended primarily to stir piety in viewers with little aesthetic sophistication.
Fiorenza Rangoni in The Dictionary of Art. 25, New York, 1996, p. 730.
Reinhold Baumstark in Rom in Bayern: Kunst und Spiritualität der ersten Jesuiten. Exh. cat., Bayerisches Nationalmuseum. Munich, 1997, pp. 454–55, 458–61, no. 137, ill. (color), reviews the history of the chapel and the Jesuit program of the altarpiece and corrects the date in the inscription to 1593.
et al. in Saints and Sinners: Caravaggio and the Baroque Image. Exh. cat., McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College. Chestnut Hill, Mass., 1999, pp. 29–30, 81 nn. 14–15, 113–14, 129 nn. 41–50, pp. 157–58, 173 nn. 42–44, colorpl. 1, notes that the moment shown in the painting, and the inclusion of Nicodemus, correspond to verse no. 298 of St. Ignatius's "Exercises"; finds the individualization of each figure's emotions and gestures compelling, contesting Partridge's characterization of this work as "saccharine religious art" [see Ref. Partridge 1996]; points out that the artist uses the same model for the figure of the Magdalen in the MMA picture and the Crucifixion in the Chiesa Nuova, Rome.
Gauvin Alexander Bailey. Between Renaissance and Baroque: Jesuit Art in Rome, 1565–1610. Toronto, 2003, pp. 198, 208–11, 344 nn. 142, 144, 146, p. 345 n. 155, fig. 99, attributes the design of Celio's paintings to Fiammeri rather than Valeriano.
Alexandra Dern. Scipione Pulzone (ca. 1546–1598). Weimar, 2003, pp. 75, 162–63, no. 54, pl. 72.
Philippe Costamagna. "Les tableaux des écoles d'Italie centrale du XVIe siècle dans la collection Fesch." Le goût pour la peinture italienne autour de 1800, prédécesseurs, modèles et concurrents du cardinal Fesch. Ajaccio, 2006, pp. 75, 80 nn. 87, 88, fig. 4, identifies it as no. 2419 in the 1841 catalogue of the collection of Cardinal Fesch; notes that it is not known when the cardinal acquired it and that the picture was not included in the Fesch sale of 1845.