Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist

 
Artist
Creation date
Materials
oil on wood
Dimensions
34 1/4 in. diam.
Credit line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Ball
Accession number
79.1133
Collection
Currently On View

The encounter between the Christ Child and the infant St. John during the Holy Family's return from Egypt was a popular theme in Florentine painting, undoubtedly because the Baptist was that city's patron saint. 

In Bugiardini's carefully articulated circular composition, St. John receives Christ's blessing and reaches out to touch him in a dynamic gesture that intimately links the two cousins.  St. John will later announce the coming of the Lord and baptize him.  Christ's Passion is prefigured by John's little reed cross and the inscription on its banner: Ecce Agnus Dei (Behold the Lamb of God).

Marquis d’Arjuzon, Paris. (Durlacher Bros., London); Mrs. C.R. Holmes [died 1941], New York and Sands Point, Long Island, in 1929;{1} sale at (Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York) in 1942;{2} Mrs. Thorneycroft Ryle, New York.{3} sale at (Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York) in 1943;{4} Julius H. Weitzner [died 1986], New York and London.{5} Possibly (Thomas Agnew, London).{6} purchased by William H. Ball [d. 1980], Indianapolis, before fall 1952;{7} given to the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1979 (79.1133).

{ 1}The sale catalogue cited below gives this early provenance. Holmes purchased several things from Durlacher Bros. in the period 1927-1929 according to this sale catalogue. The Durlacher Brothers records at the Getty have not yet been consulted.
{2 } See Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, “Chinese Ceramics & Jades, Persian Pottery, Egyptian Antiquities, Gothic & Renaissance Art….from the Collection of the Late Mrs. Christian R. Holmes,” 15-18 April 1942, lot no. 731 (ill., and seen on the wall in a photo of her New York apartment). The information given in the catalogue raisonné by Laura Pagnotta, Giuliano Bugiardini, Torino, 1987, concerning a 14 October 1942 auction is not correct, nor is the chronological order of the owners she lists.
{3}Mrs. Thorneycroft Ryle is given as the purchaser of this Bugiardini in the New York Times, 19 April 1942. Some items in her collection were auctioned by Sotheby’s, London, in the 1960s, although this Bugiardini was not among them.
{4}See Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, “Fine Paintings of the American and European Schools, Property of the Estate of the Late Mrs. Samuel T. Peters….and other owners,” 14 October 1943, lot. no. 50 (ill.) as “Connecticut Private Collection,” probably that of Mrs. Thorneycroft Ryle given the short time span between the April 1942 and the October 1943 auctions.
{5}See “Art Sale yields $45,900,” New York Times, 15 October 1943, which identifies the buyer as the art dealer and collector Julius Weitzner.
{6}See footnote 1 of the article by Sarah Wilk, “Bugiardini’s Holy Family with the Young St. John the Baptist,” [IMA] Perceptions, vol. 2 (1982), p. 14, in which she notes that Ball purchased the painting from Agnew’s. However, correspondence with Agnew’s in October 2011 revealed that they have no record of this painting in the period in question.
{7} Mr. and Mrs. William H. Ball are listed as the owners in the exhibition catalogue European Masters in Indiana Homes, John Herron Art Museum, October 12-November 9, 1952, cat. no. 3.
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