Oil on copper
10 1/8 x 7 7/8 in. (25.7 x 20cm)
Private Collection, New York.
Oil on copper
10 1/8 x 7 7/8 in. (25.7 x 20cm)
Private Collection, New York.
We wish to thank Prof. Sandro Bellesi for his kind assistance in cataloguing the present lot.
The present painting derives from the famous type of the Mater Dolorosa, which Dolci adopted around 1655 to great success along other Italian artists from the Seicento like Titian, whose version features a Madonna with clasped hands, now in the Prado Museum. Our version features a sad Madonna in profile, wrapped in a long mantle which covers much of her head. It seems to directly compare to the autograph version of Dolci (Mater Dolorosa, circa 1655, oil on canvas) in the National Museum of Western Art Tokyo, with the difference that it adopts a more closely cropped format, with the Virgin’s figure is truncated just below the hands. In the present work, the Virgin appears somehow troubled, her eyes lowered in sorrow and discretely shedding a tear. Yet, her face appears smooth and beautiful, which contributes to the idealization of the holy figure. Her cherry lips and the soft pink of her cloak's lining (other versions highlight a paler blue) contrast with the deep blue of the rest of the composition. The subtly radiant halo behing her head enables the figure to detach herself from the dark background, and stand out before the viewer.
The modest size of the oil suggests a work of private devotion, in which Dolci specialized at the time especially when he was at the service of the Medici family. The number of existing copies and variants also confirm its success. The present work particularly demonstrates the artist's talent at depicting, with great naturalism and sensitivity, the Virgin's humanity and modesty.
In overall good condition. With minor abrasions at bottom right corner, as well as intermitently along the outer edges of the work. Examination under UV light reveals older restoration around the halo surrounding the figure, in the dark background from the upper left quadrant to the upper right one. Some more pinpoint inpainting along the left outer edge of the painting, to the direct left of the figure. Some more localized areas of restoration at center left, on the inside of the Virgin's veil, as well as at center right, on her blue cloak. Her face appears intact. With remnants of old greenish varnish throughout, which seem to be indicative of a selective cleaning. See Specialist's pictures for more details.
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Please note: All lots show signs of wear consistent with age and use, and the absence of a statement regarding condition issues does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from imperfections or the effects of aging.
Unless otherwise noted, all information provided is the opinion of Freeman's specialists.
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