Giacomo Ceruti, nicknamed "Pitocchetto" (the little beggar), is still an enigmatic personality. His fame rests upon his numerous portraits and genre paintings. As his sobriquet implies, these often portray figures from the lower classes and seem to have enjoyed a widespread popularity among amateurs throughout northern Italy. Our painting is typical both in the social class of the subject, probably a maidservant carrying her mistress's dog, and its direct, unidealized presentation.
Achillito Chiesa, Milan (by 1922–at least 1924); ?private collection, Florence (by 1928–30; sold through Count Umberto Gnoli, Rome, to MMA)
Florence. Palazzo Pitti. "Mostra della pittura italiana del Sei e Settecento," April–October 1922, no. 1011 (as by Todeschini, lent by Achillito Chiesa).
Hartford, Conn. Wadsworth Atheneum. "43 Portraits," January 26–February 10, 1937, no. 28 (as by Todeschini).
Turin. Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna. "Giacomo Ceruti e la ritrattistica del suo tempo nell'Italia Settentrionale," February–March 1967, no. 14 (as by Ceruti).
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Masterpieces of Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 16–November 1, 1970, unnumbered cat. (p. 28).
Brescia. Monastero di S. Giulia. "Giacomo Ceruti: Il Pitocchetto," June 13–October 31, 1987, no. 74.
Roberto Longhi. marginal notes in the exhibition catalogue "Mostra della pittura italiana del Sei e Settecento in Palazzo Pitti," 1922.  [published in Roberto Longhi, "Scritti giovanili: 1912–1922," Florence, 1961, p. 511, fig. 260], attributes it to Ceruti.
U[go]. Ojetti, L[uigi]. Dami, and N[ello]. Tarchiani. La pittura italiana del seicento e del settecento alla mostra di Palazzo Pitti. Milan, 1924, pl. 291, as by Todeschini; as in the Chiesa collection, Milan.
Francesco Malaguzzi Valeri. "La Galleria Càmpori." Cronache d'arte 1 (September–October 1924), p. 240, as by Todeschini.
Roberto Longhi. "Di Gaspare Traversi." Vita artistica 2 (August–September 1927), p. 167 n. 62 [reprinted in Ref. Longhi 1967, p. 216 n. 62], publishes his attribution to Ceruti [see Ref. Longhi 1922].
Giuseppe Delogu. Pittori minori liguri lombardi piemontesi del Seicento e del Settecento. Venice, 1931, p. 206 n. 3, notes Longhi's attribution to Ceruti.
Giuseppe Delogu. "Appunti su Jacopo Ceruti pittore bresciano detto il 'Pitocchetto'." L'arte, n.s., 2 (July 1931), pp. 312–13.
Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, p. 268, ill., as by Todeschini.
Federico Zeri. Letter. November 12, 1948, supports Longhi's attribution to Ceruti.
Renata Cipriani and Giovanni Testori. I pittori della realtà in Lombardia. Exh. cat., Palazzo Reale. Milan, 1953, p. 67, under no. 120, as by Ceruti.
Karl-Gustaf Hedén. "Des Ceruti en Suède? (A propos de la découverte d'un portrait inconnu)." Göteborgs Konstmuseum Årstryck (1953), pp. 50–51, 53, as by Ceruti.
Antonio Morassi. Letter. July 15, 1955, attributes it to Ceruti.
M[iklós]. Mojzer. "Giacomo Francesco Cipper." Acta Historiae Artium 4, nos. 1–2 (1956), pp. 80, 96 n. 21, notes Longhi's attribution to Ceruti, but thinks it is more likely an early work by Todeschini (Cipper) because of "the stiffer portrayal and arrangement".
Ivàn Fenyö. Letter to Theodore Rousseau. February 10, 1963, remarks that Mojzer [see Ref. 1956] no longer thinks it is by Cipper (Todeschini), and nor does he; finds it closer to Ceruti and to Monsù Bernardo-Keil (Bernhard Keil).
Ivàn Fenyö. Letter to Theodore Rousseau. October 8, 1963, tentatively accepts the attribution to Ceruti, although finding from photographs that the work has "not quite the high quality" of this artist.
Giovanni Testori. Giacomo Ceruti. Exh. cat., Finarte. Milan, 1966, p. 6, wrongly as in the Kress Collection, America; calls it a pendant to Ceruti's "Woman with a Cat" (now private collection; formerly Fumagalli collection, Monza).
Luigi Mallé and Giovanni Testori. Giacomo Ceruti e la ritrattistica del suo tempo nell'Italia Settentrionale. Exh. cat., Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna. Turin, 1967, p. 48, no. 14, pl. 53.
Roberto Longhi. Opere complete di Roberto Longhi. Vol. 2, part 1, Saggi e ricerche: 1925–1928. Florence, 1967, p. 216 n. 62 [repr. of Ref. Longhi 1927].
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 51, 532, 607.
Giulio Melzi d'Eril. La Galleria Melzi e il collezionismo milanese del tardo Settecento. Milan, 1973, p. 128, compares the MMA picture and "Woman with a Cat" (formerly Fumagalli collection, Monza) with a pair of paintings by Ceruti, "Old Man with a Cat" and "Old Man with a Dog," formerly in the Melzi collection, Milan (now Gallarati Scotti, Milan).
G. Guandalini inMostra di opere restaurate, secoli XIV–XIX. Exh. cat., location unknown, Modena. 1980, p. 66.
Mina Gregori. Giacomo Ceruti. Bergamo, 1982, pp. 18, 89 n. 86, pp. 465–66, no. 197, ill. p. 361 (color), calls it the pendant to "Woman with a Cat" in a private collection (formerly Fumagalli collection, Monza); considers the pair contemporary with Ceruti's works for the Palazzo Busseti, Tortona, dating them after 1740; observes a connection with Cipper (Todeschini) during this period.
Mina Gregori inGiacomo Ceruti: Il Pitocchetto. Exh. cat., Comune di Brescia, Monastero di S. Giulia. Milan, 1987, p. 45, dates it to the 1740s; remarks that the laughing expression of the figure, in contrast to the sober mood of Ceruti's earlier paintings, recalls the work of Todeschini and conventions of the comic pictorial tradition.
Francesco Frangi inGiacomo Ceruti: Il Pitocchetto. Exh. cat., Comune di Brescia, Monastero di S. Giulia. Milan, 1987, pp. 191–92, no. 74, ill. p. 154 (color), calls it the pendant to the "Woman with a Cat" formerly in the Fumagalli collection; accepts Gregori's [see Refs. 1982 and 1987] dating to the 1740s.
This picture has a pendant, A Woman with a Cat, in a private collection, Monza (formerly Fumagalli collection, Monza).
Damages were sustained to the paint surface along the border of the picture and a tacking edge can be detected about two and one-half inches from the present edge of the canvas, which implies that the picture was cropped at one time with the outside edge of the painting folded over the canvas stretcher. At a later point (but before entering the Museum), the original canvas edge was unfolded and the picture was restored to its original size. The painting's pendant should be examined to see if it shares this condition problem. [Charlotte Hale, Fall 2000]