This altarpiece shows the Institution of the Rosary, established by Saint Dominic (1170–1221) in the thirteenth century. The devotion was particularly popular in seventeenth-century Italy. The painting was commissioned soon after 1612, by Gaspare Spanzotta for the Chapel of Saints Francis and Dominic in the church of the Madonna dei Miracoli at Corbetta, near Milan. The tight composition and brilliant brushwork are characteristic of Procaccini’s style, which evolved under the influence of work by Ludovico Carracci and Parmigianino.
?church of the Madonna dei Miracoli, Corbetta, near Milan; [Colnaghi, London and New York]; [Matthiesen, London, by 1978–79; sold to MMA]
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.
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 it in the chapel of Saints Francis and Dominic.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Artist: Giulio Cesare Procaccini (Italian, Bologna 1574–1625 Milan)Date: 1604Medium: Charcoal, highlighted with white gouache, squared in charcoal, on blue paperAccession: 1982.92On view in:Not on view