Giovan Battista Salvi called Sassoferrato - inv. 1110

Giovan Battista Salvi called Sassoferrato (1609-1685)

The Virgin and Child
21,7 x 16,3 cm
1879 bequest Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli
Inv. 1110

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This small painting shows the Virgin seated on a bank of clouds with the Child in her arms. It is a reworking (though turned in the opposite direction compared to the original) of the central motif of a famous 1512 painting by Raphael, known as the Madonna di Foligno (today Vatican Museums, Rome). The fact that the image faces the other way may mean that it was painted after a print rather than after the original.
Between 1635 and 1650 Giovan Battista Salvi painted fifteen copies and reworkings of paintings of the early sixteenth century for the church of San Pietro a Perugia. He probably made the Poldi Pezzoli’s small copper work during the same period; its high quality excludes the hand of workshop assistants.
His activity as a religious painter kept Sassoferrato far from the aesthetic debates that attracted so many painters and theorists in Rome during the seventeenth century.
Famous for his copies of Raphael’s works, he was not mentioned in period biographies but enjoyed much success with the public nevertheless. His Florentine workshop continued to produce copies of his paintings even after his death.