Colnaghi Foundation Journal 01 - Page 164

Three Procaccinis at Colnaghi
Three Procaccinis at Colnaghi
Fig. 6 / Giulio Cesare
Procaccini, Holy Family
with Two Angels, oil on
canvas, 140 x 100 cm,
acquired from Colnaghi
in 2016 by a Private
Fig. 7 / Giulio Cesare
Procaccini, Portrait of
Three Children, oil on
panel, 26.4 x 35 cm,
Geneva, Rob Smeets Old
Master Paintings.
Fig. 8 / Giulio Cesare
Procaccini, Head of the
Magdalene, oil on panel,
50.2 x 39.4 cm, San Diego
Museum of Art.
Their poses, especially the extended right arm, are
almost identical. An even more striking comparison is
the proximity of the Child in the present picture with
the Saint Giovannino from the informal Portrait of Three
Children, of ca. 1620, (fig. 7), obviously taken from life,
that came to light in a private European collection
in February 2005 when its attribution was endorsed
by Nancy Ward Neilson and the present author, after
which it was sold at Sotheby’s, London, 7 July 2005, lot
31. This has to be the very same model; and it seems
likely that the artist had retained the informal portrait
for use in exactly this kind of context. It gives this Holy
Family a sense of immediacy that over-rides its formal
design; and this is reiterated in the tender manual
embrace of the two angels in the right background.
Finally on a more speculative note one might compare
the face of the Virgin with the late (after ca. 1620)
Head of the Magdalene in the San Diego Museum
(fig. 8), formerly attributed to the young Ribera,
but reattributed to G. C. Procaccini by Alessandro
Morandotti in 2003, Franco Moro in 2010, followed by
Odette D’Albo in 2015.14
Other pictures that appear to be of about the same date
and reflect the same stylistic preoccupations include a
Holy Family at Dresden (inv. 643), one at Turin in the
Sabauda Gallery, and another in the Royal Collection
in London, all probably dating from after 1620-1621.
They are all painted on panel as if to underline the link
with Renaissance painting. And the same classicism
in the composition of the figures also colours two of
Procaccini’s very last altarpieces, the Madonna and Child
with Saint Carlo, Saint Francis and Angels in Santa Maria di
Carignano, Genoa, and the Madonna of the Rosary in San
Pietro al Rosario, Novara.
Certainly the present picture perhaps dating a little
after 1620 with its monumental Raphaelesque figures
within a formal full frontal static design exactly
matches these ambitions. The same could be said
of a firmly modelled Holy Family with Infant St John,
painted on panel, now with Canesso, Paris (fig. 9);
while a mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine, also painted
on panel, now in the private collection of Daniel
Katz, exhibited at his gallery in London in 2015, and


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