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Attributed to Gentileschi, Orazio (Italian painter, 1563-1639) , The Rest on the Flight into Egypt

Core Record

Title The Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Collection Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Attributed to Gentileschi, Orazio (Italian painter, 1563-1639)
Previously attributed to Cantarini, Simone (Italian painter and printmaker, 1612-1648)
Previously attributed to Gentileschi, Artemisia (Italian painter, 1593-1652 or 1653)
Date Earliest about 1615
Date Latest about 1620
Description Influenced by the realism of Caravaggio, Gentileschi has treated the subject as if the Holy Family were ordinary Italian peasants. Joseph is old, haggard and exhausted. The Virgin is a young, well-built woman with grubby feet sitting uncomfortably on the floor of a ruined building as she feeds her toddler child. Jesus appears naked and vulnerable glancing apprehensively towards the viewer and we are reminded that this family are refugees escaping from Herod's death-threat.

This is one of four versions painted by Gentileschi and is considered to be the earliest, made before the artist left Rome in 1621. In 1926 he settled in England and became Court Painter to Charles I.

Current Accession Number 1947P5
Former Accession Number P.5´47
Subject religion (Rest on the Flight into Egypt)
Measurements 175.6 x 218 cm.0 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Purchased from the Duchess of Kent 1947.
Provenance Chevalier Pietro Massei of Lucca; his daughter, Teresa Massei Bonvisi, her sale 1713 as by Guercino; Stefano Conti Lucca, catalogued as by Guercino; by descent to Marquis Cesare Boccella, Lucca until c. 1830; Carlo Ludovico II di Borbone, Duke of Lucca (catalogued 1840) as by Simon da Pesaro; Phillips, London, 5 June 1841, lot 38 as Simon da Pesaro, bought by Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot, Margam Castle; by descent to Miss Emily Talbot; her sale, Margam Castle, Christie's, 29 October 1941, lot 376 as Artemisia Gentileschi, bought by Duke of Kent; Duchess of Kent Sale, Christie's 14 March 1947.
Principal Exhibitions Pictures from Birmingham, Agnew's, 1957, cat. no. 30; Italian Art and Britain, Royal Academy of Arts, 1960, cat. no. 376; Mostra del Caravaggio e dei Caraveggeschi, Milan, 1951, cat. no. 113; Italian Art, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, 1955, cat. no. 51; Old Masters from the City of Birmingham, Wildenstein, 1970, cat. no.11; Orazio Gentileschi at the Court of Charles I, National Gallery, London, 1999, cat. no. 3; Orazio and Artemesia Gentileschi, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2002, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2002, cat. no. 34; Art Treasures of England: Regional Collections, Royal Academy of Arts,1998, cat. no. 296.
Publications Catalogue fo the Gallery of His Royal Highness the Duke of Lucca, 1840; Waterhouse, E. K., Painting in Britain 1530 - 1790, 1953, p. 43; Illustrations, 1952, p. 15, ill.; Wittkower, R., Art and Architecture in Italy 1600 - 1650, 1958, p. 43; Voss, H., 'Orazio Gentileschi. Four Versions of his Rest on the Flight to Egypt', Connoisseur, November 1959, pp. 163-5; Wheeler et al., Italian Art and Britain, Royal Academy of Arts, 1960, pp. 26, 143-4; Ward Bissell, R., Orazio Gentileschi and the Poetic Tradition in Caravaggesque Painting, Penn State and London, 1981, pp. 39-40, 167-8; Sutton, D., Christie's Since the War, 1959, pp. 19, 58, fig. 20; Catalogue of the Paintings in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 1930; Catalogue of the Paintings in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 1960; Foreign Paintings in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, A Summary Catalogue, 1983, no. 73, ill.; Marcolini, G., 'Alla ricerca di un Guercino §perduto§', ARTE Documento, vol. 10, 1996, pp. 69 - 73.
Notes Other versions are in the Louvre, no. 1346, from the Louis XIV Collection; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, recorded 1718 at Prager Schloss with St Mary Magdalene, also by Gentileschi; Paul Getty Collection, California. Picture of this subject seen by Sandrart in Gentileschi's studio, in London 1626. This picture is the only one to show a donkey's head and an undraped child. Voss has argued convincingly that it was the first of the versions and Wheeler (R.A. catalogue, 1960) that it was painted before the artist left Rome in 1621.

On the back red wax royal seal.

Rights Owner Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Author Dr Patricia Smyth



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