Catalogue of the Very Celebrated & Valuable Series of Capital Pictures . . . Formed . . . by . . . the late Samuel Woodburn, Esq. . . . . Christie's, London. June 9 and 11, 1860, p. 19, under no. 77, mentions the series of three works in the entry for the panel now in Liverpool [see Notes], which is attributed to Domenico Ghirlandaio; states that the Liverpool panel was "obtained from a descendant of the Tornabuoni family, for whom it was painted"; identifies the series with three works described by Vasari, and calls them "finished models for . . . large frescoes".
Inventory of Ashburnham House, Dover Street, London. 1878 [typed copy in National Gallery library, London], as by Ghirlandaio, with a comment, probably of later date, that Miss F[f]oulkes attributes it to Granacci.
Costanza Jocelyn Ffoulkes. "Le esposizioni d'arte italiana a Londra." Archivio storico dell'arte 7 (1894), p. 166, fig. 8a, accepts the attribution to Granacci, which she says was first made by Jean Paul Richter.
Bernhard Berenson. The Florentine Painters of the Renaissance. New York, 1896, p. 115, lists the two MMA panels as early works by Granacci in the collection of Lord Ashburnham, London.
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 266, lists the two MMA panels as in the Joseph Robinson collection, Capetown.
Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 228.
E[llis]. K. Waterhouse. The Robinson Collection. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts. London, 1958, pp. 15–16, no. 21, gives provenance details and information on the unpublished Ashburnham catalogue of 1878; attributes all three panels to Granacci and states that "all three are somehow connected with Domenico Ghirlandajo's frescoes in Sta Maria Novella of 1486/90, in whose execution Granacci was involved".
Horace Shipp. "Treasures of the Robinson Collection: Some Problems of Attribution." Apollo 68 (August 1958), p. 40, ill. p. 39, doubts that the two MMA panels are by the same artist.
Alfred Scharf. "The Robinson Collection." Burlington Magazine 100 (September 1958), p. 300, fig. 2, believes that the two MMA panels are by different artists, assigning 1970.134.1, along with the Liverpool panel, to a follower of Ghirlandaio, and tentatively attributing 1970.134.2 to Granacci.
"The Robinson Pictures." Connoisseur 142 (November 1958), p. 96, no. 21.
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Florentine School. London, 1963, vol. 1, pp. 98–99, calls them cassone panels.
Foreign Schools Catalogue. Vol. 1, Text. Liverpool, 1963, pp. 83–84, under no. 2783, attributes the three panels to Granacci, with probably some help from assistants accounting for the slight differences in style; states that they were probably made to decorate the walls of a private room, and that the series must originally have included at least two more scenes depicting the baptism of Christ, the imprisonment of the Baptist, the dance of Salome, and the beheading of the Baptist; notes that a label on the back of the Liverpool panel attributes it to Ghirlandaio, states that it was painted for the Tornabuoni family, and identifies it as a sketch for the frescoes in Santa Maria Novella; rejects all three statements.
Christian von Holst. "Francesco Granacci als Maler." PhD diss., Freie Universität, Berlin, 1968, p. ?, accepts the attribution to Granacci; includes the panel in Cleveland as part of the series [see Notes].
Christian von Holst. Letter to Everett Fahy. August 3, 1970, states that in 1966 he identified the Cleveland panel as an early work by Granacci and belonging to the same room decoration as the MMA and Liverpool paintings.
Christian Von Holst. "Three Panels of a Renaissance Room Decoration at Liverpool and a New Work by Granacci." Annual Report and Bulletin of the Walker Art Gallery Liverpool 1 (1970–71), pp. 32–37, figs. 11, 15, states that the series was made as a decorative cycle for a Florentine palace and dates it to the first years of the sixteenth century.
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. 180–83, 185, ill., date both MMA panels about 1510 or earllier; attribute this panel to Granacci, the Cleveland panel to the Master of the Spiridon Story of Joseph, and MMA 1970.134.2 and the Liverpool panel to different anonymous assistants of Granacci; state that the series was made for the chapel or oratory of a private home in Florence; agree that the Cleveland panel is part of the series but do not believe that it was originally directly attached to this painting; mention a panel attributed to Granacci depicting the baptism of Christ which may also have formed part of the series (formerly Gerini collection, Florence; destroyed 1944); identify the statues appearing on the tabernacle at left and the monochrome reliefs in the spandrels above the arches of the portico at right, noting that they are based on classical prototypes.
Everett Fahy. "Florentine Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum: An Exhibition and a Catalogue." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 29 (June 1971), p. 438, ill.
Edmund P. Pillsbury. Florence and the Arts: Five Centuries of Patronage. Exh. cat., Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland, 1971, unpaginated, under no. 12.
Christian von Holst. "Florentiner Gemälde und Zeichnungen 1480–1580." Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 15 (1971), p. 9, fig. 10 (detail), considers the statue on the right of the roof of the tabernacle at left to be derived from Michelangelo's lost bronze David.
Christian von Holst. Francesco Granacci. Munich, 1974, pp. 24–25, 132–35, 175, 194, 199, no. 7, figs. 15, 19–24 (overall and details), does not believe this panel was cut at the right; discusses its connection to works by Ghirlandaio and to the Codex Escurialensis; agrees that the Baptism formerly in the Gerini collection [see Zeri and Gardner 1971] probably originally formed part of the series.
Anthony M. Clark in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1965–1975. New York, 1975, p. 89, ill.
Myra Nan Rosenfeld. "A Florentine Quattrocento Altarpiece: Witness to Artistic, Religious Trends." M: A Quarterly Review of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts 7, no. 2 (1975), p. 8, fig. 8.
Edward Morris and Martin Hopkinson. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool: Foreign Catalogue. [Liverpool], 1977, text vol., pp. 86–87, under no. 2783, date the series about 1505–10; consider the traditional Tornabuoni provenance credible; believe that the landscape in this picture and in the Liverpool panel are probably by the same artist and that both paintings reveal more than one hand.
M. E. D. Laing. "Francesco Granacci and Some Questions of Identity." Metropolitan Museum Journal 24 (1989), pp. 153–66, figs. 1, 6, 15 (overall and details), notes the differences in style and quality between the panels; identifies the narrative at right as the warming of the child's swaddling clothes; suggests that the woman at center holding out her arms for the baby might be Mary, but notes that the figure does not have a halo; suggests various symbolic meanings for the fire at right.
Anne B. Barriault. "Spalliera" Paintings of Renaissance Tuscany: Fables of Poets for Patrician Homes. University Park, Pa., 1994, pp. 87, 96–97, 156–57, no. 16.1, fig. 16.1, suggests that the series was commissioned by a younger member of the Tornabuoni family as a tribute to Giovanni, the paterfamilias; dates it about 1510.
Lucinda Hawkins Collinge in The Dictionary of Art. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 13, New York, 1996, p. 280.
Graham Hughes. Renaissance Cassoni, Masterpieces of Early Italian Art: Painted Marriage Chests 1400–1550. Alfriston, England, 1997, pp. 223, 232.
Everett Fahy in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2006–2007." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Fall 2007), p. 19, refers to it as a wainscot panel.
Everett Fahy. "An Overlooked Michelangelo?" Nuovi studi 15 (2009), pp. 51–67, colorpl. XX (detail), figs. 59–60, 68 (overall and details), attributes 1970.134.1 to Granacci, 1970.134.2 to Michelangelo, the Cleveland panel to the Pseudo-Granacci, and the Liverpool panel to Granacci, Bugiardini, and Michelangelo; suggests that the series was commissioned to decorate the bedchamber of Giovanni di Lorenzo Tornabuoni upon the occasion of his marriage to Caterina di Alamanno Salviati in January 1507.
Keith Christiansen. "The Earliest Painting by Michelangelo." Nuovi studi 15 (2009), pp. 43, 46 nn. 25, 27.
Milton Esterow. "Why It's a Michelangelo." Art News 109 (June 2010), pp. 85–87, ill. p. 89 (color).
Charlotte Hale, Julie Arslanoglu, and Silvia A. Centeno. "Granacci in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Evolving Workshop Practice." Studying Old Master Paintings: Technology and Practice. London, 2011, pp. 59–62, 64 nn. 3, 6, figs. 1 (color), 3ab (infrared reflectogram details), 5 (cross-section of paint layer), discuss the differences in the underdrawing of the two panels, calling the first "extensive" with a "bold, calligraphic character" and the second "brief and schematic . . . applied in careful but confident shorthand"; note that the medium also varies between the two panels, the first being painted in egg tempera with some drying oil and the second in pure drying oil.
Carmen C. Bambach in Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman & Designer. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2017, p. 318 n. 55.