Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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The Holy Family with Saint John the Baptist

Artist:
Workshop of Fra Bartolomeo (Bartolomeo di Paolo del Fattorino) (Italian, Florence 1473–1517 Florence)
Date:
ca. 1515-17
Medium:
Black chalk
Dimensions:
5-7/16 x 4-3/4 in. (13.8 x 12.0 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Gift of Cornelius Vanderbilt, 1880
Accession Number:
80.3.135
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 690
Quickly drawn in black chalk, this study was formerly part of the same sketchbook which likely also included two studies for a Madonna and Child with Infant St. John of almost the same size: one in the Museum’s collection (no. 80.3.134; black chalk, 14.3 x 11.6 cm) and the other one in The Morgan Library & Museum, New York (inv. IV,8; black chalk, 13.5 x 9.7 cm). Even though the drawings show similarities with Fra’ Bartolomeo’s shorthand and late draftsmanship, the three sketchbook sheets should be attributed to a talented member of his workshop, possibly the monk Fra’ Paolino da Pistoia (1488-1547), who inherited his master’s drawings and cartoons at his death in 1517. Visible in the background of the present composition is the trunk of a palm tree, a narrative detail indicating that the scene takes place after the Holy Family's arrival in Egypt (Matthew 2:13–23). The pyramidal structure of the three drawings and their use of blended black chalk to create atmosphere are signs of the admiration of Fra Bartolomeo and his workshop for the graphic work of Leonardo da Vinci. (Furio Rinaldi)
James Jackson Jarves; Cornelius Vanderbilt (American, Staten Island, New York 1843–1899 New York)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Coles Gallery, 8: Tapestries and Paintings, Malachites, Vases, Drawings by Old Masters, Etchings, Photographs, and Tapestries in Gallery 4, Main Hall.," 1895.

Coles Gallery, 8: Tapestries and Paintings, Malachites, Vases, etc.; Drawings by Old Masters, Etchings, Photographs, and Tapestries in Gallery 4, Main Hall. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hand-book, no. 8, New York, 1895, cat. no. 135.

Bernard Berenson The Drawings of the Florentine Painters. 3 vols., amplified edition. Chicago, 1938, cat. no. 459 c, p. 41.



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