Charity, Cesare Dandini (Italian, Florence 1596–1657 Florence), Oil on canvas


Cesare Dandini (Italian, Florence 1596–1657 Florence)
Oil on canvas
47 1/8 x 41 1/2 in. (119.7 x 105.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Friedman, 1969
Accession Number:
Not on view
An artist of considerable refinement, Dandini promoted the Florentine devotion to strongly colored and elegantly crafted compositions. This painting may be the allegory of Christian Charity painted for Cardinal Carlo de’ Medici (1595–1666). The picture was later set in the vaulted ceiling of a room in the Casino Mediceo near San Marco in Florence. Judging from the projecting foot it was always meant to be seen from a low viewing point.
?[Fritz Wengraf, London, until 1954]; [Wildenstein, New York, 1954–68; acquired as by a French painter; sold to Friedman as by Dandini]; Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Friedman, New York (1968–69)
Winnipeg Art Gallery. "Mother and Child," May 14–August 13, 1967, no. 41 (lent by Wildenstein and Co., Inc.).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Florentine Baroque Art from American Collections," April 17–June 15, 1969, no. 30 (lent anonymously).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Florentine Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum," June 15–August 15, 1971, no catalogue.

Mina Gregori. 70 pitture e sculture del '600 e '700 fiorentino. Exh. cat., Palazzo Strozzi. Florence, 1965, pp. 45–46, under no. 10, accepts the attribution to Dandini; mentions other versions; notes connection with Domenico Feti and Sigismondo Coccapani.

Mina Gregori. "Cesare Dandini pittore del '600 fiorentino." Comma 5 (August–September 1969), p. 10, ill. p. 9 (color, reversed).

Joan Nissman in Florentine Baroque Art from American Collections. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1969, pp. 37–38, no. 30, fig. 15.

Claus Virch. "Reports of the Departments 1969-1970: European Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 29 (October 1970), pp. 76–77, ill.

Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Florentine School. New York, 1971, pp. 212–13, ill., attribute it to Dandini, in his middle period; list other versions.

Everett Fahy. "Florentine Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum: An Exhibition and a Catalogue." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 29 (June 1971), p. 443, ill., describes it as remarkable for its vibrant colors; notes that, instead of having loose brushwork typical of most Italian Baroque paintings, this one is tightly composed with a strong linear design.

Everett Fahy. "Letter from New York: Florentine Paintings at the Metropolitan." Apollo 94 (August 1971), p. 153, fig. 8.

Anthony M. Clark in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1965–1975. New York, 1975, p. 88, ill.

Mina Gregori in La pittura in Italia: il Seicento. Ed. Mina Gregori and Erich Schleier. revised and expanded ed. Milan, 1989, vol. 1, p. 317; vol. 2, p. 954, seems to associate this work with Dandini's "Charity" from the Casino Mediceo, near San Marco, Florence, of 1634.

Francesca Baldassari. La pittura del Seicento a Firenze: indice degli artisti e delle loro opere. [Milan], 2009, p. 255.

Svetlana Vsevolozskaja. Museo Statale Ermitage: la pittura italiana del Seicento. Milan, 2010, p. 212, under no. 55.

The Weldon Collection. Sotheby's, New York. April 22, 2015, p. 351, under no. 72.

The frame is from Florence and dates to about 1570 (see Additional Images, figs. 1–3). This carved and gilded frame is composed of a poplar back frame laminated to a walnut upper frame. Its ogee slip and cavetto and pearl ornamented sight edge lies within a frieze carved in twisted guilloche with center rosettes terminating in corner acanthus leaves. An ogee rises to a hollow within a top edge ornamented in intervals of straight rustications on the outside. A quarter round at the back edge transitions to a straight side. Though regilded overall, perhaps when the slip was added at the sight edge, the surface was originally an off greyish-white color and had parcel gilded highlights.

[Timothy Newbery with Cynthia Moyer 2017; further information on this frame can be found in the Department of European Paintings files]
Another version of this composition, attributed to Dandini and assistants, was sold by the Stanza del Borgo gallery, Milan, in 1972. It is reproduced in Burlington Magazine (June 1972), pl. 28. Additional versions are discussed in Zeri and Gardner 1971.