andrea mantegna - The Virgin and Child with Infant Saint John the Baptist and Six Female Saints, about 1497-1500

andrea mantegna (Padua province, about 1431 - 1506, Mantua)

The Virgin and Child with Infant Saint John the Baptist and Six Female Saints, about 1497-1500

Tempera on panel transferred to canvas on masonite, 55.9 x 42.6 cm (22 x 16 3/4 in.) panel


Object details

Accession number



Gonzaga collection, Mantua.
Included in an inventory of the collection of Vincenzo II Gonzaga (1594-1627), Duke of Mantua, in the Camera dei Cani (?), Palazzo Ducale, Mantua in 1627. (as unattributed)
Purchased by Charles I (1600-1649), King of England, Somerset House, with the Gonzaga collection for more than £10,000 in about 1627-1628, through the Flemish merchant Daniel Nijs (1572-1647).
Included in an inventory of Charles I's collection in about 1639, no. 31. (as Mantegna)
Purchased by the Flemish portraitist Jan Baptist Jaspers (about 1620-1691) from the sale of Charles I's effects, held by act of Parliament after his execution, for £34 on 22 (?) March 1650, lot 170 (of the paintings from St. James's Palace, London). (as Mantegna) [purchased with a second painting, Museo Nacional del Prado no. P00248]
Purchased by Luis Méndez de Haro (1598-1661), 6th Marquis of Carpio, for £105 in 1653, through Alonso de Cárdenas, the Spanish ambassador to London. (as Mantegna) [purchased with the Prado painting]
Gift from Luis Méndez de Haro to Philip IV (1605-1665), King of Spain, Madrid, 1653 (?). [with the Prado painting]
Bequeathed by Philip IV to Charles II (1661-1700), King of Spain, Madrid, 1665.
Bequeathed by Charles II to Philip V (1683-1746), King of Spain, Madrid, 1700.
Bequeathed by Philip V to Ferdinand VI (1713-1759), King of Spain, Madrid, 1746.
Bequeathed by Ferdinand VI to Charles III (1716-1788), King of Spain, Madrid, 1759.
Bequeathed by Charles III to Charles IV (1748-1819), King of Spain, Madrid, 1788.
Passed to Ferdinand VII (1784-1833), King of Spain, Madrid, when Charles IV abdicated the throne in 1808.
Bequeathed by Ferdinand VII to Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies (1806-1878), Queen Regent of Spain, Madrid, 1833.
Gift from Maria Christina to her daughter Maria de los Milagros (1835-1903), Marchioness of Castillejo, on the occasion of her marriage to Prince Filippo Massimiliano del Drago (1824-1913), 1856.
Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from Prince Filippo Massimiliano del Drago, Rome for 125,000 lire before 31 October 1899, through the art historian and archaeologist Richard Norton (1872-1918). (as Mantegna)


Inscribed (on the face of the rock, right foreground): ANDREAS MANTIN[IA] [the MA in monogram]

Dimension Notes

Frame: 65.1 x 53.3 cm (25 5/8 x 21 in.)


Abraham van der Doort et al. A Catalogue and Description of King Charles the First's Capital Colllection of Pictures...Published from an Original Manuscript in the Ashmolean Musaeum... (London, 1757), p. 9, no. 33. (as by Mantegna; as the pendant of The Death of the Virgin, now housed in the Museo del Prado, Madrid, accession no. P00248)
Carlo D'Arco. Delle arti e degli artefici di Mantova. Notizie raccolte ed illustrate con disegni e con documenti, vol. 2 (Mantua, 1857), p. 165. (unattributed)
Paul Kristeller and S. Arthur Strong (trans.). Andrea Mantegna (London, 1901), p. 449. (as by Mantegna; as from the collection of Charles I, now lost)
Catalogue. Fenway Court. (Boston, 1903), p. 8. (as by Mantegna)
John Lafarge et al. (eds.). Noteworthy Paintings in American Private Collections, vol. 1 (London, 1907), pp. 43-45, 49, 52-53, 158-59, 163-67, ill. (as variously attributed by several contributors: by Mantegna, an early work painted in Mantua; influenced by Mantegna, 1475-1490; workshop of Mantegna; Verona school, perhaps Giovanni Francesco Caroto)
Tancred Borenius (ed.). A History of Painting in North Italy..., vol. 2 (London, 1912), p. 97, n2. (as by Mantegna; as from the collection of Charles I, now missing)
Alessandro Luzio. La galleria dei Gonzaga venduta all'Inghilterra nel 1627-28. Documenti degli archivi di Mantova e Londra raccolti ed illustrati (Milan, 1913), p. 128, no. 580. (unattributed)
Bernard Berenson. "Venetian Paintings in the United States: Part Four." Art in America, vol. 4 (1915), pp. vii, 3-4, 7, ill. (as by Mantegna, a later work around 1485)
Bernard Berenson. Dipinti Veneziani in America (Milan, 1919), pp. 61-65, fig. 27. (as by Mantegna, about 1485)
Morris Carter. Isabella Stewart Gardner and Fenway Court (Boston, 1925; Reprint, Boston, 1972), p. 179.
Philip Hendy. Catalogue of Exhibited Paintings and Drawings (Boston, 1931), pp. 228-31, ill. (as by Mantegna, soon after 1460, Flemish influence; as the companion of the Prado Death of the Virgin)
George Martin Richter. Review of Philip Hendy, Catalogue of Exhibited Paintings and Drawings. The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, vol. 61 (1932), p. 239. (as by a Veronese artist, perhaps by Caroto when he was in Mantegna's studio)
Roberto Longhi. "Rinascimento di un Mantegna." Pan, vol. 2 (1934), p. 511. (as in great part by Mantegna, about 1480-1490)
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), pp. 87-88. (as by Mantegna, probably about 1460)
Giuseppe Fiocco et al. Mantegna (Paris, 1937), pp. 70-71, 208. (as by Mantegna, about 1480-1495; the signature as later)
Stuart Preston. "Santa Conversazione" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 14, ills. (as by Mantegna, about 1460-1465)
Erika Tietze-Conrat. Mantegna: Paintings, Drawings, Engravings (New York, 1955), p. 180. (as more likely a minor Ferrarese painter, around 1480)
Renata Cipriani. Tutta la pittura del Mantegna (Milan, 1956), p. 79. (attribution as uncertain, much later than 1480)
“Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 6, no. 8 (21 Oct. 1962), pp. 1-2. (as traditionally accepted as Mantegna but variously attributed: as a minor Farrarese artist, around 1480; circle of Bellini; Venetian, around 1465; or Jacometto)
Roberto Longhi. "Crivelli e Mantegna. Due mostre interferenti e la cultura artistica nel 1961." Paragone. Arte (1962), p. 62. (as designed by Mantegna, among his final works)
Ettore Camesasca. Mantegna (Milan, 1964), pp. 107, 128. (as close to Mantegna; the signature as false)
Juan Antonio Gaya Nuño. Pintura Europa Perdida por España de Van Eyck a Tiépolo (Madrid, 1964), p. 71, no. 232, pl. 14. (as by Mantegna)
Niny Garavaglia. L'opera completa del Mantegna (Milan, 1967), p. 98, no. 34F. (doubts attribution to Mantegna)
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: A List of the Principal Artists and their Works...: Central Italian and North Italian Schools, vol. 1 (London, 1968), p. 239. (as in great part by Mantegna; the signature as later)
Burton B. Fredericksen and Frederico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections (Cambridge, 1972), p. 118. (as not an autograph work by Mantegna)
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), pp. 154-56, pl. XVI. (as by Mantegna, a late work; 1497-1500, according to Mary Newton)
Ernest Samuels. Bernard Berenson: The Making of a Connoisseur (Cambridge, 1979), p. 416.
Rollin van N. Hadley. Museums Discovered: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1981), pp. 52-53, ill. (as by Mantegna, probably 1495 or later)
Keith Christiansen. "Early Renaissance Narrative Painting in Italy." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. 41 (Fall 1983), p. 36. (as by Mantegna; as probably from the chapel of Dutchess Margherita Gonzaga)
Ronald Lightbown. Mantegna: with a Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, Drawings, and Prints (Berkeley, 1986), pp. 479-80, no. 172, pl. 201. (as attribution disputed; perhaps school of Mantegna, probably about 1497-1500; the signature as spurious but by an early hand)
Rollin van N. Hadley (ed.). The Letters of Bernard Berenson and Isabella Stewart Gardner 1887-1924 (Boston, 1987), pp. 195-97, 200, 205, 209, 211-12, 215.
Keith Christiansen in Jane Martineau (ed.). Andrea Mantegna. Exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts; New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992), p. 161. (as formerly thought to be the pendant of the Prado Death of the Virgin)
Stephen Campbell and Alan Chong. Cosmè Tura: Painting and Design in Renaissance Ferrara. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2002), pp. 173, 177, 179, fig. 8. (as by Mantegna)
Jonathan Brown et al. (eds.). The Sale of the Century: Artistic Relations between Spain and Great Britain, 1605-1655. Exh. cat. (Madrid: Museo Nacional del Prado, 2002), pp. 64-65, 230, 291. (as by Mantegna)
Giovanni Agosti. "Su Mantegna, 7 (Nell'Europa del Seicento)." Prospettiva. Rivista di storia dell'arte antica e moderna (2004), pp. 137, 151, fig. 22. (as by Mantegna)
Stefania Lapenta et al. Le collezioni Gonzaga. La quadreria nell'elenco dei beni del 1626-1627 (Mantua, 2006), pp. 278, 327-28, no. 1242. (as attributed to Andrea Mantegna)
Caroline Elam in Giovanni Agosti et al. (eds.). Mantegna, 1431-1506. Exh. cat. (Paris: Musée du Louvre, 2008), pp. 330- 31, no. 136. (as Mantegna (?), about 1495)

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Andrea Mantegna rose to fame at the Renaissance court of Isabella d’Este. Antiquity fuelled both their imaginations, and he gave form to her humanist ideas with his brush, reinterpreting standard Christian subjects in new ways. Mantegna signed this devotional painting for either Isabella d’Este herself, or an equally esteemed patron.

Gardner fashioned herself as a latter-day Isabella d’Este. A painting by her idol’s court artist lent this historical fiction new meaning. That Gardner did not acquire it from Bernard Berenson led the young art historian to opine, “But, oh, I do wish you had not bought it without consulting me.” Instead, Richard Norton pursued the painting for Gardner in Rome. Delighted by the picture, he inscribed on the reverse of the photograph he sent to Gardner: "first look at the draperies of the women on the left! And then the two little kids!"