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Pietà (Lamentation over the Dead Christ)
Oil on poplar panel, 23.58 x 28.8 cm (9 5/16 x 11 5/16 in.)
Location: Raphael Room
Accession Number: P16e3
This small panel originally formed part of the predella of an altarpiece Raphael painted for the convent of Sant’Antonio in Perugia. The main panel depicting the Virgin and Child enthroned and surrounded by saints is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, which also owns a panel from the predella. Other parts of the predella are in the National Gallery, London, and the Dulwich Picture Gallery. The altarpiece is a youthful work by Raphael, done at a time when he was emerging as a rival to Perugino, who had been a strong influence on him.
In this painting, Raphael arranged six figures in an easily read composition, each figure varied in action but united in sympathetic attention to the dead Christ. Saint John and the Virgin Mary tenderly support Christ in the center on a slightly elevated grassy mound. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, who brought Christ down from the cross, stand behind to frame the group. At the right, Mary Magdalene kneels to kiss Christ’s foot. Even in this early work, Raphael imbues his figures with the empathy and sweetness beloved in his later paintings.
When Berenson brought this painting to Mrs. Gardner’s attention, she immediately bought it. A few years before, he had warned her not to buy the central panel of the altarpiece, judging it to be for the most part by Raphael’s workshop (it was acquired by J. P. Morgan). Like many collectors of her time, she coveted most a Raphael Madonna, but she was never able to acquire one. The work had a series of especially distinguished owners: Queen Christina of Sweden owned it between 1663 and 1689; in 1721, it was bought by the duke of Orléans, regent of France, who also owned Titian’s Europa; later belonged to the English portraitist Thomas Lawrence.
Source: Richard Lingner, "Pietà," in Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 77.
Predella panel from an altarpiece for the convent of Sant' Antonio da Padova, Perugia about 1503-1506. (panels include National Gallery, London, 2919; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 16.30 and 32.130.1; Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, 241 and 243)
The complete predella sold by the convent, separately from the altarpiece, on 7 June 1663 to Queen Christina of Sweden (1629–1689), through Cardinal Decio Azzolini, Rome (1623–1689). Collection of Cardinal Decio Azzolini (1623–1689) by inheritance from Queen Christina.
By inheritance to his nephew, Marchese Pompeo Azzolini, Rome (d. 1696).
Purchased by Prince Livio Odescalchi, Rome (d. 1713) in 1696.
By inheritance to Baldasarre Erba Odescalchi, Rome (d. 1746).
Purchased by Phillipe Duc d’Orléans, Regent of France, Galerie Orléans, Paris (d. 1723) in 1721 through Pierre Crozat (d. 1740).
By inheritance to Louis Duc d’Orléans, Paris (d. 1752).
By inheritance to Louis-Philippe Duc d’Orléans, Paris (d. 1785).
By inheritance to Louis-Philippe-Joseph Duc d’Orléans, Paris (d. 1793).
Purchased by François-Louis-Joseph de Laborde-Méréville, Paris later London (d. 1801) in 1792 through Édouard de Walkuers, Paris.
Consigned to Jeremiah Harman, London (d. 1844) in 1798.
Purchased by the consortium of Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle and George Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Duke of Sutherland.
Purchased by Chevalier Féréol de Bonnemaison (d. 1827), director of restorations of paintings at the Louvre from the Duc d'Orléans sale at Peter Coxe, Burrell and Foster, London on 14 February 1800, lot 43.
Collection of Count Carl Rechberg, Munich by 1820.
Collection of Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), English painter and collector.
Purchased by the dealer John Seguier, London at the Lawrence sale Christie’s, London on 15 May 1830, lot 125 for £131.
Collection of Mark Anthony Whyte, Barron Hill, Staffordshire by 1854.
By inheritance to M. H. Dawson, London.
Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from the art dealers Colnaghi & Co., London on 17 November 1900 for $24,277 through Bernard Berenson (1865–1959), American art historian.
- Peter Coxe, Burrell, and Foster. Catalogue of the Remaining Part of the Orleans' Collection of Italian Paintings,... (London, 14 February 1800), p. 6, lot 43.
- Christies. A Catalogue of the Valuable Collection of Paintings, by Ancient and Modern Masters, of Sir Thomas Lawrence,... (London, 15 May 1830), p. 125, lot. 125.
- J. A. Crowe and G. B. Cavalcaselle. Raphael: His Life and Works, vol. 1 (London, 1882), pp. 236, 238.
- J. P. Richter, “The Old Masters at Burlington House,” Art Journal (March 1902), p. 83.
- Catalogue. Fenway Court. (Boston, 1903), p. 9.
- Philip Hendy. Catalogue of Exhibited Paintings and Drawings (Boston, 1931), pp. 282-83. (as 1503-1505)
- Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 117. (as about 1504)
- Morris Carter. "Mrs. Gardner & The Treasures of Fenway Court" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 60, ill. 59.
- Oskar Fischel. Raphael (Berlin, 1962), p. 33, fig. 37c.
- Pierluigi de Vecchi. The complete paintings of Raphael (New York, 1966), pp. 92-93, cat. 42F.
- A.P. Oppé. Raphael (London, 1970), pl. 29.
- George L. Stout. Treasures from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1969), pp. 114-15. (as 1503-1505)
- John Pope-Hennessy. Raphael: The Wrightsman Lectures (New York, 1970), pp. 134-136, 278, fig 120.
- Luitpold Dussler. Raphael: A critical catalogue of his pictures wall-paintings and tapestries (London, 1971), p. 15, pl. 40.
- Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections (Cambridge, 1972), p. 172.
- Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), pp. 193-95. (as 1503-1506)
- Everett Fahy. "Italian Paintings at Fenway Court" in James Thomas Herbert Baily (ed.). The Connoisseur: An Illustrated Magazine for Collectors, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (London, 1978), p. 36, 39-41, fig. B, 16.
- David Alan Brown. "Berenson and Mrs. Gardner: The Connoisseur, the Collector and the Photograph." Fenway Court (1978), pp. 24-29, no. 3.
- Konrad Oberhuber. "The Colonna Altarpiece in the Metropolitan Museum and Problems of the Early Style of Raphael." Metropolitan Museum Journal 12 (1978), pp. 55-91.
- John La Farge and August F. Jaccaci (eds.). Noteworthy Paintings in American Private Collections. vol. 1. (New York, 1909, reprint 1979), pp. 28-29, ill.
- Rollin van N. Hadley. Museums Discovered: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1981), 56-57. (as 1503-1506)
- Konrad Oberhuber. Raffaello (Milan, 1982), p. 185, cat. 8. (as about 1501-1502)
- Jean-Pierre Cuzin. Raphael: His Life and Works (Secaucus, New Jersey, 1983), pp. 36, 42, fig. 37.
- David Alan Brown. Raphael and America. Exh. cat. (Washington: National Gallery, 1983), pp. 52, 59-62, fig. 31.
- S. Ferino Pagden. “The Early Raphael and His Umbrian Contemporaries” in Raphael Before Rome. Studies in the History of Art, vol. 17 (Washington, National Gallery of Art, 1986), pp.103-105, fig. 26.
- Rollin van N. Hadley (ed.). The Letters of Bernard Berenson and Isabella Stewart Gardner 1887-1924 (Boston, 1987), pp. 231-33, 235, 237, 245-46, 248, 260, 262-63, 296.
- Hilliard Goldfarb et al. Italian Paintings and Drawings Before 1800 in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Unpublished manuscript. (Boston, 1996-2000). (as about 1504)
- Rudolf Hiller von Gaertringen. Raffaels Lernerfahrungen in der Werkstatt Peruginos (Munich, 1999), p.54. (as about 1503-1504)
- Jürg Meryer zur Capellen. Raphael: A Critical Catalogue of His Paintings. Vol. 1. (Münster, 2001), pp. 172-185, cat. 17E. (as 1505)
- Alan Chong et al. (eds.) Eye of the Beholder: Masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 2003), pp. 76-77. (as about 1503-1505)
- Laura Teza and Mirko Santanicchia. Pietro Vannucci il Perugino. (Perugia, 2004), pp. 311, 324, fig. 18.
- Carol Plazzatto in Hugo Chapman, et al. Raphael from Urbino to Rome. Exh. cat. (London: National Gallery, 2004), pp. 150-55, cat. 42. (as 1504-1505)
- Linda Wolk-Simon. Raphael at the Metropolitan: The Colonna Altarpiece. Exh. cat. in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Spring 2006), pp. 11, 65, cat. 1E, fig. 8, 11, 32. (as about 1504-5)