Ten figures are tightly woven together, compressed against the picture plane in an idiosyncratic combination of flickering paint surfaces taken from Parmigianino and the unexpected, angular bodily contortions of Ludovico Carracci. The result is otherworldly, unbelievable, but highly visually stimulating. Procaccini began as a sculptor, but by 1610 had established himself as a painter in Milan. This altarpiece, likely commissioned by the Spanzotta family around 1612, represents the Institution of the Rosary, established by Saint Dominic (1170–1221), clothed in black and white, whose body is echoed by Saint Francis (ca. 1181–1226), clothed in his humble brown habit.
Use your arrow keys to navigate the tabs below, and your tab key to choose an item
Title:Madonna and Child with Saints Francis and Dominic and Angels
Dimensions:101 1/8 x 56 3/8 in. (256.9 x 143.2 cm)
Credit Line:Purchase, Enid A. Haupt Gift, 1979
?church of the Madonna dei Miracoli, Corbetta, near Milan; ?Filippo Spanzotta (until d. 1640; inv., 1641); Archinto family, Milan (probably by 1722, definitely by 1772); conte Giuseppe Archinto, Milan (until d. 1861; his estate sale, Hôtel des commissaires-priseurs, Paris, May 18, 1863, no. 50, to Scotti); [Colnaghi, London and New York]; [Matthiesen, London, by 1978–79; sold to The Met]
New York. Hall & Knight. "Procaccini in America," October 15–November 23, 2002, no. 5.
Minutes of meeting of the deputies of the church of the Madonna dei Miracoli, Corbetta. November 3, 1612 [Archivio della Chiesa della Madonna dei Miracoli, Memorie storiche, Cartella I, Fascicolo I, Primo Libro delle Ordinazioni: 1572–1689, f. 14], assign the chapel dedicated to Saint Francis to the brothers Gaspare and Filippo Spanzotta with the condition that they provide an altarpiece by a reputable master within a year.
Posthumous inventory of Filippo Spanzotta. January 11, 1641 [Archivio di Stato di Milano, Notarile, fascicolo 29446; see Comincini 1999 and Colombi 2017], as either "Nostro Signore con l'immagine dei Santi Francesco e Domenico" (Comincini) or "Nostra Signora con l'immagine dei Santi Francesco e Domenico" (Colombi), possibly this painting.
Inventory of the church of the Madonna dei Miracoli, Corbetta. 1642 [Archivio della Chiesa della Madonna dei Miracoli, Proprieta del Santuario, Cartella VI, Fascicolo 2], lists a painting of this subject without attribution in the chapel of Saints Francis and Dominic.
Edward Wright. Some Observations Made in Travelling through France, Italy, &c. in the Years 1720, 1721, and 1722. London, 1730, vol. 2, p. 470, notes seeing "two large and fine" paintings by Giulio Cesare Procaccini in the Archinto collection in Milan, one an unfinished Massacre of the Innocents and the other unnamed, possibly this picture.
Pastoral visit of Cardinal Giuseppe Pozzobonelli. 1760, f. 163 [Archivio Storico Diocesano, Milan, Visite Pastorali, "Corbetta," vol. XLVI; see Spiriti 1995], records the altarpiece in place as by Procaccini.
Marcello Oretti. Libro Quarto / Miscellanee / Pitture nella città / di Milano. 1772 [Biblioteca dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna, ms. 96 bis; see Colombi 2017], mentions seeing it in the Archinto collection, describing it as "Una Tavola d'altare con la Mad.a Bamb.o / S. Dom.o e S. Francesco di Giul. Ces. Procaccino . . . . ".
[Cesare Cantù]. Milano e il suo territorio. Milan, 1844, vol. 2, p. 280, mentions it in the Palazzo Archinto as "Madonna in gloria" by Procaccini.
Otto Mündler. Diary entry. January 13, 1856, f. 22v [published in Carol Togneri Dowd, ed. "The Travel Diaries of Otto Mündler, 1855–1858," Walpole Society 51 (1985), p. 93], records seeing "a large and excellent Procaccini" in the Palazzo Archinto, Milan.
Marco Bona Castellotti. "Aggiunta al catalogo di Melchiorre Gherardini." Paragone 29 (November 1978), pp. 89–90, 93 n. 17, incorrectly publishes the copy (pl. 70) of the painting in the church of the Madonna dei Miracoli, Corbetta, as the original by Procaccini, noting that Mina Gregori has suggested that the frame around the picture might have been executed after Procaccini's design; mentions a drawing attributed to Giuseppe Vermiglio in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan, made after the painting.
Keith Christiansen. "An Altarpiece by Giulio Cesare Procaccini." Metropolitan Museum Journal 14 (1979), pp. 159–66, figs. 1 (overall), 4–6 (details), and detail on front dust jacket, identifies it as the painting made for the church of the Madonna dei Miracoli, Corbetta, publishing the document of 1612 and the inventory of 1642; notes that the style of the painting is consistent with the implied date of 1612–13, and places it chronologically between the scenes of the life of the Virgin in San Antonio Abate, Milan, of 1612, and the altarpiece in the Santuario dei Miracoli, Saronno; emphasizes the influence of Parmigianino; discusses the iconography; notes that the copy is still in the original frame designed by Procaccini and was moved from the church to an adjacent building after the Second World War.
Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, pp. 293, 295, fig. 529 (color).
Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Unpublished manuscript for catalogue of North Italian paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. n.d. [ca. 1980].
Keith Christiansen inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1979–1980. New York, 1980, p. 40, ill. (color).
Hugh Brigstocke. "G. C. Procaccini et D. Crespi: nouvelles découvertes." Revue de l'art no. 48 (1980), pp. 36, 39 n. 34, fig. 15, dates the picture 1612–15 on the basis of style; in a footnote, states that he has just been made aware of Christiansen's research, and accepts his identification and dating.
Hugh Brigstocke. "A Procaccini 'Holy Family' for Kansas City." Nelson Gallery and Atkins Museum Bulletin 5 (January 1981), pp. 4, 6, 15 n. 2, fig. 3.
Marco Bona Castellotti. La pittura lombarda del '600. Milan, 1985, fig. 485, dates it 1612–13.
F. Rossi inI pittori bergamaschi dal XIII al XIX secolo. Vol. 4, Il Seicento. Bergamo, 1987, vol. 4, p. 302, under no. 19, catalogues a copy after this picture in the church of S. Maria Immacolata, Bergamo-Loreto (oil on canvas, 320 x 180 cm).
Simonetta Coppa in "Procaccini, famiglia." Dizionario della chiesa ambrosiana. Vol. 5, Milan, 1987, p. 2959, as "Madonna del Rosario".
Nancy Ward Neilson inLa pittura in Italia: il Seicento. Ed. Mina Gregori and Erich Schleier. revised and expanded ed. Milan, 1989, vol. 2, p. 853.
Simonetta Coppa inPinacoteca di Brera: scuole lombarda, ligure e piemontese 1535–1796. Milan, 1989, pp. 378–79, 381, 384, mentions it in connection with four paintings by Procaccini in the Brera.
Hugh Brigstocke. "Giulio Cesare Procaccini (1574–1625): Ses attaches génoises et quelques autres faits nouveaux." Revue de l'art 85 (1989), p. 48.
Colnaghi in America: A Survey to Commemorate the First Decade of Colnaghi New York. Ed. Nicholas H. J. Hall. New York, 1992, p. 131, lists it among paintings sold by Colnaghi.
Marco Rosci. Giulio Cesare Procaccini. Soncino, 1993, pp. 18, 31, 84, colorpl. 13.
Marina Moncalero inPittura a Como e nel Canton Ticino: Dal Mille al Settecento. Ed. Mina Gregori. Milan, 1994, p. 306.
Andrea Spiriti inIl santuario di Corbetta. Ed. Maria Luisa Gatti Perer. [Milan], 1995, pp. 117–19, 140 nn. 5, 7, fig. 19, notes that Cardinal Pozzobonelli's pastoral visit of 1760 records the altarpiece in place as by Procaccini; does not think there is enough evidence to determine whether the Corbetta or MMA picture is the original, noting that the frame on the Corbetta picture is universally considered original and that the MMA painting is slightly smaller, that the poor state of conservation of the Corbetta picture makes judgment of its quality difficult, and that the history of the MMA picture prior to Colnaghi is unknown.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 107, ill.
Silvia A. Colombo inPittura in Alto Lario e in Valtellina: Dall' Alto Medioevo al Settecento. Ed. Mina Gregori. Milan, 1995, p. 268.
Eliot W. Rowlands. The Collections of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: Italian Paintings, 1300–1800. Kansas City, Mo., 1996, p. 237.
Federico Cavalieri inPittura nell'Abbiatense e nel Magentino: opere su tavola e tela secoli XV–XVIII. Abbiategrasso, 1999, pp. 38–39, 169, 184 n. 3, fig. 24, agrees that the version still in Corbetta is a copy after the MMA painting, perhaps dating from only a few years after the original; presents three hypotheses to explain the relationship between the two pictures in light of the documents discussed by Comincini (1999): 1) the Corbetta painting is the copy commissioned by Filippo Spanzotta between 1637 and 1640 after the MMA work, then in an unknown public location; 2) Spanzotta commissioned the MMA work from Procaccini in 1613–14 and it was executed but not put in the chapel until about 1640, and after Spanzotta's death in that year his heirs replaced it with the copy; 3) the MMA work was executed in 1613–14 and taken to the church but not installed in the completed chapel until about 1640 and then replaced with the copy at an unknown date.
Mario Comincini inPittura nell'Abbiatense e nel Magentino: opere su tavola e tela secoli XV–XVIII. Abbiategrasso, 1999, pp. 144, 150–51, notes that testaments of Filippo Spanzotta dated 1625 and 1637 contain passages asking his heirs to provide the altarpiece for the chapel if he has not done so during his lifetime, and that this passage disappears in his final testament of 1640, interpreting this to mean that Spanzotta commissioned or purchased a copy (and a frame) sometime between 1637 and 1640 and that this is the work included in the inventory of 1642; mentions a 1641 inventory of Spanzotta's home in Corbetta that includes a painting estimated at 60 lire called "Nostro Signore con l'immagine dei Santi Francesco e Domenico," wondering if this might have been commissioned for the chapel but rejected, or whether "Nostro Signore" might be a mistake for "Nostra Signora" and the picture might be the one now at the MMA.
Hugh Brigstocke. Procaccini in America. Exh. cat., Hall & Knight. New York, 2002, pp. 32, 84, 123, no. 5, pl. 59, ill. pp. 85 (color) and 180.
Michael Kimmelman. "An Unfamiliar Italian Master in an Unlikely New York Setting." New York Times (October 25, 2002), p. E36.
Keith Christiansen. "Going for Baroque: Bringing 17th-Century Masters to the Met." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 62 (Winter 2005), p. 14, fig. 10 (color).
Keith Christiansen. "La création tardive d'une collection de peintures baroques au Metropolitan Museum of Art / Creating a Baroque Collection at the Metropolitan Late in the Game." Aux origines d'un goût: la peinture baroque aux États-Unis / Creating the Taste for Baroque Painting in America. Paris, 2015, pp. 67, 72.
Martina Colombi. "'The Madonna and Child with Saints Francis and Dominic and Angels' by Giulio Cesare Procaccini: A Masterpiece from the Archinto Collection." Metropolitan Museum Journal 52 (2017), pp. 142–47, fig. 1 and ill. p. 142 (color, overall and detail), identifies it as a work appearing in the 1863 sale of the collection of Giuseppe Archinto and notes that a copy of the sale catalogue in the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan, is annotated with the buyer's name "Scotti"; finds several early mentions of the picture in the Archinto collection in Milan; believes that this work was never hung in the Madonna dei Miracoli chapel and that the painting listed in the 1641 Spanzotta inventory (see Comincini 1999) is this one.
Hugh Brigstocke and Odette D'Albo. Giulio Cesare Procaccini: Life and Work with a Catalogue of His Paintings. Turin, 2020, pp. 320, 324, 329–30, 336, 348, 399, 427, 451, no. 62, ill. pp. 118 (color), 198, notes that although it can "no longer be firmly tied to 1613–14," it is stylistically consistent with this date; compares the pyramidal composition with Procaccini's altarpieces for Sant'Angela Merici (formerly Sant'Afra), Brescia; Santuario della Beata Vergine dei Miracoli, Saronno; and Santi Fermo e Rustico, Caravaggio.
Hugh Brigstocke inGiulio Cesare Procaccini: Life and Work with a Catalogue of His Paintings. Turin, 2020, pp. 30, 66, 75 n. 7, notes that Keith Christiansen has observed pentimenti that "affect the left hand of the angel, upper left; the thumb of Saint Francis; the hair of the central putto; the left hand of Saint Dominic and the right hand of the putto on the right".
Odette D'Albo inGiulio Cesare Procaccini: Life and Work with a Catalogue of His Paintings. Turin, 2020, p. 79.
A copy (oil on canvas, 250 x 140 cm [Bona Castellotti 1978] or 268 x 148 cm [Spiriti 1995]) after this painting, still in the original frame, hangs in a building adjacent to the church of the Madonna dei Miracoli, Corbetta.
Another copy is in the church of S. Maria Immacolata, Bergamo-Loreto (oil on canvas, 320 x 180 cm; see Rossi 1987).
There is a drawing (Cod. F.235 inf., n. 1179) attributed to Giuseppe Vermiglio in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan, that is a copy after this painting.
The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can connect to the most up-to-date data and public domain images for The Met collection. Open Access data and public domain images are available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.
We continue to research and examine historical and cultural context for objects in The Met collection. If you have comments or questions about this object record, please complete and submit this form. The Museum looks forward to receiving your comments.