Object of the Month - December 2017
Madonna and Child with an Angel, the Infant St. John the Baptist and St. Jerome
Marco d’Oggiono (c.1467 – 1524)
Oil on panel
Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection
Probably born in Milan, Marco d’Oggiono was associated with Leonardo da Vinci by the early 1490s and became one of his principal and most successful followers. He received important commissions in Milan, Venice and Liguria and died a wealthy man. In this large panel, Leonardo’s influence is most evident in the figural types and in their soft, or sfumato, or modeling. The composition echoes the master’s celebrated Madonna of the Rocks of the mid-1480s, most directly in the pose of the infant Baptist. The gaunt, long skull of St. Jerome further evokes many of Leonardo’s old, ascetic types, such as the apostle St. Simon at the far right of his Last Supper (c. 1495 – 97), which Marco himself copied.
A much smaller (72 x 58cm) and weaker version of this painting with a different landscape background was in the New York trade. It has not been determined whether it, or more likely the Tata panel, can be identified with a painting auctioned in London in 1830 as Marco d’Oggiono, “The Holy Family, with an angel and St. John, in a Landscape. This Picture was a principal object in a Cause recently tried at Westminster Hall: Michelli v. Solly”