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Press release

Andrea del Sarto’s Borgherini Holy Family

October 14, 2015–January 10, 2016

Exhibition Location: European Paintings, Gallery 624, 2nd floor

Borgherini Holy FamilyAndrea del Sarto’s Borgherini Holy Family, a focused exhibition that will present new findings on the Metropolitan Museum’s Holy Family with the Young Saint John the Baptist, one of the Museum’s greatest works of the Italian Renaissance, will open on October 14, 2015. That painting will be shown alongside Charity (before 1530), a closely related panel by the artist that will be on loan from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.  The exhibition will allow visitors to follow the artist’s approach as he moved from drawings on paper to the preparatory underdrawings on the panels, and then to the final paintings, emphasizing the crucial role of drawings and cartoons in his workshop. Other related works, including a Madonna and Child panel by Andrea del Sarto from a private collection, will also be on view. The exhibition will complement Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action, a more extensive exhibition surveying the artist’s work, currently on view at The Frick Collection.

Andrea del Sarto (1486-1530) was one of the most influential artists active in Florence in the first decades of the 16th century. He painted the grand Holy Family with the Young Saint John the Baptist around 1528 for Giovanni Borgherini, who was prominent during the city’s tumultuous, brief-lived Republic, before the Medici family re-established their rule. The imagery of Christ sharing the orb with his cousin Saint John the Baptist, Florence’s patron saint, was symbolic for the Republican government. Recent technical examination and conservation of the painting has revealed the masterful underdrawing of the figures and the brilliant, sumptuous color that led Sarto to be known as “the painter without defects.” The exhibition will examine Sarto’s decision to adapt this composition for a second painting, Charity. That painting, to be displayed in the Met exhibition with Holy Family with the Young Saint John the Baptist, was likely meant as an important gift for Francis I, the French king.

Exhibition Credits and Related Programs
The exhibition is organized by Andrea Bayer, Jayne Wrightsman Curator in the Department of European Paintings, and Michael Gallagher, Sherman Fairchild Conservator in Charge, Department of Paintings Conservation.

“Theme and Variations in Two Paintings by Andrea del Sarto,” a subscription lecture series in The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, will be offered on October 22 and 29. Additional information about the exhibition and its accompanying programs is available on the Museum’s website as well as on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter via the hashtag #AndreadelSarto.


October 7, 2015

Image: Andrea del Sarto (Andrea d'Agnolo) (Italian, 1486-1530). The Holy Family with the Young Saint John the Baptist (detail), ca. 1528. Oil on wood; 53 1/2 x 39 5/8 in. (135.9 x 100.6 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Maria DeWitt Jesup Fund, 1922

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