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Holy Family with a Donor

Holy Family with a Donor

Artist: Gaudenzio Ferrari (Italian, c. 1475/80-1546)

Date: late 1520s
Medium: Oil on wood
58 1/2 x 44 in. (148.6 x 111.8 cm)
Credit Line: Bequest of John Ringling, 1936
Object number: SN41
On View: Art Museum Gallery 04
About this ObjectGaudenzio Ferrari was the principal painter in sixteenth-century Milan. He exhibited great talent for conveying emotion, reflecting Leonardo da Vinci's precept that gesture and expression reflect the soul.

Here, the dignified Mary gazes with infinite tenderness upon her Child. Joseph, kneeling and touching his hat in a gesture of astonishment, seems to have just become aware of his Son's holiness. The angels below reverentially coddle and adore Christ, while those above proclaim his divinity. The solemn figure on the left was probably the patron, who commissioned the artist to paint him as a cleric in perpetual prayer. Together, the figures engagingly portray a range of relationships and reactions to the divine Child.
Count Antonio Arcimboldi (d. 1675), Milan; by inheritance to his wife and still in 1682, Countess Livia Arcimboldi, Milan. Taverna collection, Milan; sold for 5,000 florins to Jean-Baptiste Etienne, Brussels; (sold for 40,000 francs to Henry Farrer [1798–1866], London); sold by 1854 to Robert Stayner Holford (1808–1892), Dorchester House, London; by descent to Sir George Lindsay Holford (1860–1926), Dorchester House, London; (sold Holford sale, Christie’s, London, 15 July 1927, lot 49, to Julius Böhler); purchased in 1927 by John Ringling (1866–1936), Sarasota, Florida; bequest in 1936 to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida.
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