Cigoli, a painter of considerable intellectual accomplishment and a friend of the great scientist and astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564–1642), was the key artist in Florence in the late sixteenth century. This altarpiece was painted at the height of Cigoli’s career and introduced to Florentine painting a new emotional warmth and emphasis on color, based on the work of Barocci and Titian. Some of the details are taken directly from nature, such as the still life around the Christ Child and the rustic figures at the right. Cigoli’s work blends the study of nature with the work of the High Renaissance artists.
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Title:The Adoration of the Shepherds with Saint Catherine of Alexandria
Artist:Cigoli (Ludovico Cardi) (Italian, Castello di Cigoli 1559–1613 Rome)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:121 3/8 x 76 1/4 in. (308.3 x 193.7 cm)
Credit Line:Gwynne Andrews Fund, 1991
Inscription: Signed, dated, and inscribed: (lower right) LC [monogram] / 1599; (top, on banderole) GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO
probably by descent to Beilby Lawley, 3rd Baron Wenlock, London (?1880–d. 1912; inv., late 19th century); Hon. Irene Lawley, later Hon. Mrs. Forbes Adam, Escrick Park, Yorkshire (by 1913–54; inv., March 1913; sale, Sotheby's, London, May 12, 1954, no. 81, for £50.0.0 to Appleby [Weitzner]); [Julius Weitzner, New York, 1954; sold to Chrysler]; Walter P. Chrysler Jr., Norfolk, Va. (1954–d. 1988; posthumous sale, Sotheby's, New York, January 11, 1990, no. 69, for $132,000 to Corsini); [Piero Corsini, New York, 1990–91; sold to The Met]
New York. Piero Corsini, Inc. "Important Old Master Paintings: Within the Image," Fall 1990, unnumbered cat.
Anna Matteoli. Lodovico Cardi-Cigoli pittore e architetto. Pisa, 1980, p. 128, knows this painting only from photographs; relates it to a painting of the same subject, dated 1604, in the church of Saint Francis of Assisi, Pisa.
Miles L. Chappell inIl Seicento Fiorentino: Arte a Firenze da Ferdinando I a Cosimo III. Exh. cat., Palazzo Strozzi. Vol. 2, "Disegno/Incisione/Scultura/Arti minori."Florence, 1986, p. 122, under no. 2.69, as one of six known painted treatments of this subject.
Franco Faranda. Ludovico Cardi, detto il Cigoli. Rome, 1986, pp. 145, 174, no. 45, ill., knows this painting only from photographs; compares the face of the Madonna to another female figure in a painting in Pistoia of the "Birth of the Madonna"; notes that there is a copy by Cristoforo Allori in the Monti collection, Rome.
Frank Dabell. Important Old Master Paintings: Within the Image. Exh. cat., Piero Corsini, Inc. New York, 1990, pp. 58–61, colorpl. 11, notes that until now the painting was known only from photographs; calls it an example of Cigoli's mature style; notes the presence of a hedgehog on a shield in the lower left corner of the painting, which may be a reference to the Ricciardi family of Arezzo or the Ricci family of Pistoia; says that a drawing in the Louvre (inv. 916r) is preparatory to this painting.
Roberto Contini. Il Cigoli. Soncino, 1991, p. 74, under no. 18.
Andrea Giussani inPittura italiana dal '300 al '500. Ed. Mauro Natale. Milan, 1991, p. 98, ill. (color).
Everett Fahy. "Selected Acquisitions of European Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987–1991." Burlington Magazine 133 (November 1991), p. 802, colorpl. III.
Keith Christiansen in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1991–1992." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 50 (Fall 1992), p. 28, ill. (color).
Miles L. Chappell. Disegni di Lodovico Cigoli (1559–1613). Exh. cat., Galleria degli Uffizi. Florence, 1992, p. 96, under no. 57, associates this painting with a drawing of the same subject in the Uffizi.
Miles L. Chappell. "Proposals for Cigoli." Paragone 46 (September 1995), pp. 41, 50 n. 16, lists this painting as one of the versions of this subject that Cigoli painted at the end of the sixteenth century, the other two being in the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, and the church of San Francesco in Pisa.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 38, ill., as "The Adoration of the Shepherds with Saint Catherine of Alexandria".
Eileen Reeves. Painting the Heavens: Art and Science in the Age of Galileo. Princeton, 1997, pp. 15, 24–25, 38–41, 46, 55, 132, 234 n. 40, colorpl. 1, argues that the moon included in the background of the painting is evidence of Cigloi's interest in astronomy and Galileo's findings about heliocentrism.
Francesca Baldassari. La pittura del Seicento a Firenze: Indice degli artisti e delle loro opere. [Milan], 2009, p. 182, pl. 51.
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