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Title Faith, Hope and Charity
Collection Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Studio of Albani, Francesco (Italian painter, 1578-1660)
Date Earliest about 1650
Date Latest about 1660
Description The three female figures represent the Theological Virtues, so called because they relate to God unlike the Cardinal Virtues (Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance) which relate to the earthly realm. Faith holds the chalice and host of the sacrament. Charity provides protection and sustenance for her children. Hope gazing heavenwards holds an anchor resting on a column base which signifies strength and steadfastness. Both the pomegranates in the tree and the palm tree are attributes of the Virgin Mary.

Following his return from Bologna to Rome in 1617, Albani established a large studio to assist him in carrying out the many commissions he received for both altarpieces and small paintings such as this. His jewel-like colours and charming figure groups set against a distant idyllic landscape helped to establish his popularity.

Current Accession Number 1999Q14
Subject allegory (Faith, Hope and Charity)
Measurements 41.7 x 56.2 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Lent by Sir Denis Mahon, CBE, FBA 1999.
Provenance Joseph Wilkinson sale, Christie's, London, 20 May 1816, ot 41 as Albano, bought by McGavin, 12 0s (;); Turner of Gloucester sale, Christie's, London, 5 June 1830, lot 98, as Albano, bought by Bernard Pinney, 10 0s (;); Berlin sale, Mandelbaum & Kronthal, 8 April 1936, lot 396 as 'circle of Albani'; Christie's sale, London, 13 November 1959, lot 133; Denis Mahon.
Principal Exhibitions Discovering the Italian Baroque: The Denis Mahon Collection, National Gallery, London, 1997, cat. no. 2.
Publications Finaldi, G., and M. Kitson, Discovering the Italian Baroque, The Denis Mahon Collection, National Gallery, London, 1997, no. 2; Landolfi, F., 'La quadreria di padre Ettore Ghislieri 1605 - 1676: vicende di una riconstruzione' ,Atti e memorie dell'accademia Clementina di Bologna, 35-6, 1995-96, pp. 141 - 186; Pugilisi, C. R., Francesco Albani, New Haven and London, 1999, no. 139, p. 207-8.

The painting is to be bequeathed to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery on Sir Denis Mahon's death.

This painting was formerly believed to be the small painting on copper (38 x 52 cm) that was seized by the French from the Madonna di Galliera's sacristy in 1796 (Emiliani, 1967, pp. 43, 49) and was sent to the Church of St Roch, Paris in 1811. Recent research by F. Landolfi has revealed, however, that the confiscated painting was Pier Francesco Cittadini's copy of Albani's original, which Ghislieri had bequeathed to his friend, Giacomo Totorilli. Charity's depiction derives from cat. 139 (Pugilisi, 1999). Pugilisi does not consider this painting to be autograph. It could be after a lost original as suggested in Discovering the Denis Mahon Collection, National Gallery, London. It is further suggested that this work may be a pendant to Christ Served by Angels (Pugilisi, no. 138).

Rights Owner Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Author Dr Patricia Smyth



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