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Painting Title Virgin and Child with St Michael and St Veronica, and a Donor
Collection Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Artist Studio of Bissolo, Francesco (Italian painter, born 1470-1475, died 1554)
Previously attributed to Ingannati, Pietro degli (Italian painter, active 1529-1548)
Previously attributed to Francia, Francesco (Italian painter, goldsmith, c. 1450-1517)
Previously attributed to Raphael (Italian painter and draftsman, 1483-1520)
Date Earliest possibly about 1500
Date Latest possibly about 1530
Description St Michael, the Archangel, wears armour and carries the scales he will use to weigh souls at the Last Judgment. St Veronica holds the cloth she offered to Christ on his way to the Crucifixion, which was miraculouslly imprinted with the image of his face. Surprisingly, the head of the kneeling figure is positioned in front of Veronica's cloth, exactly where Christ's face should be. Her identity is unknown, but her name may have been Veronica. She wears a laurel wreath, perhaps indicating that she was a poet. Bissolo was an assistant to the leading Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini, from whose works he borrowed figures and poses to use in his own paintings.
Current Accession Number WAG 2784
Subject figure; religion (Virgin and Child, St Michael and St Veronica)
Measurements 69.4 x 94.6 cm
Material oil on panel
Acquisition Details Given by the Liverpool Royal Institution 1948
Provenance Possibly the picture attributed to Francia which Thomas Winstanley exchanged with William Roscoe for one by Titian, c. 1811; William Roscoe sale, Winstanley's, Liverpoo,l 23-28 September 1816, lot 64, as by Francia, bought by Mason, 99 15s 0d; given to the Liverpool Royal Institution by 1819; deposited at the Walker Art Gallery 1893.
Publications Catalogue of a Series of Pictures, Illustrating the Rise and Early Progress of the Art of Painting, in Italy, Germany, &c. Collected by William Roscoe, Esq. and now Deposited in the Liverpool Royal Institution, Liverpool, 1819, p. 12, cat. no. 20, as 'The Marriage of St Catherine' by Francia; Catalogue of the Pictures, Casts from the Antique, &c. in the Liverpool Royal Institution, Liverpool, 1836, p. 6, cat. no. 2, as 'The Marriage of St Catherine' by Francia; A Catalogue of the Paintings, Drawings and Casts in the Permanent Gallery of Art, Royal Institution, Colquitt-Street, Liverpool, Liverpool, 1843, p. 3, cat. no. 4, as 'The Marriage of St Catherine' by Pietro degli Ingannati; Waagen, G.F., Treasures of Art in Great Britain, London, 1854, vol. 3, p. 237; Descriptive and Historical Catalogue of the Pictures, Drawings, & Casts in the Gallery of Art of the Royal Institution, Colquitt Street, Liverpool, Liverpool, 1859, p. 46, cat. no. 85, as The Marriage of St Catherine by Pietro degli Ingannati; Compton, M., Walker Art Gallery: Foreign Schools Catalogue (Text), Liverpool, 1963, p. 23; Walker Art Gallery: Foreign Schools Catalogue (Plates), Liverpool, 1966, p. 43; Morris, E., and Hopkinson, M., Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool: Foreign Catalogue, 2 vols, Liverpool, 1977, pp. 22-23 (Text), p. 20 (Plates).

The back of WAG 2784 is inscribed in black paint: 'R. S. - H8'.

According to the 1816 sale catalogue of Roscoe's collection, WAG 2784 was sold as a work by Raphael when it was first brought to England. It was attributed to Francia by Roscoe, and it may be the unnamed work by this artist which is mentioned in an account of about 1811 among Roscoe's papers, relating to the purchase of pictures from Thomas Winstanley (Liverpool Record Office, 920 ROS/5315): according to this document, the Francia seems to have been acquired by Roscoe in part exchange for a work by Titian. WAG 2784 was described as a Marriage of St Catherine in the early catalogues of the Liverpool Royal Institution, but the 1859 catalogue quoted George Scharf's opinion that this was not in fact the subject, and that the kneeling figure was a donor. The Virgin and Child are repeated in a painting in York City Art Gallery attributed to Bissolo (no. YORAG: 781), where they are flanked by St Bernardino and an unidentifed female saint with a male donor. The same Virgin and Child also appear, but without attendant saints, in a painting in the Museo Borgogna, Vercelli. A painting attributed to Bissolo in the National Gallery, London (no. NG 3083), has the same saints as WAG 2784, but with two donors, presumably a married couple.

Rights Owner National Museums Liverpool (Walker Art Gallery)
Author Joseph Sharples



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