THE MADONNA AND CHILD WITH THE INFANT SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST
15 3/4 by 20 1/8 in.; 40 by 51.5 cm.
Artist or Maker
FRANCESCO BISSOLO Treviso (?) circa 1470/5 (?) - 1554 Venice
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby's, April 19, 1989, lot 9;
Private European Collector, by 1989;
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby's, April 10, 2003, lot 24.
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Bissolo is first recorded in 1492 as an assistant to Giovanni Bellini, working in the Doges Palace Venice. Thereafter, through a remarkably long life and career, Bissolo's style was based upon that of his master, many of whose designs he freely copied or adapted. His independent work is distinguished by a particular softness of modeling and rather greater sentimentality of expression, well suited to the numerous devotional half-lengths he produced. His clientele included such distinguished patrons as Pietro Barozzi, Bishop of Padua, and Boccino de Bonini, canon of Treviso Cathedral.
The central design of the present painting evidently enjoyed some popularity among Bissolo's patrons, and the pose of the Madonna and Child recurs in other works by him. A closely related signed version of the composition is now in the Galleria dell' Accademia in Venice (see S. Moschini Marconi, Gallerie dell' Accademia di Venezia, Opere d' Arte dei Secoli XVI e XV, Venice 1995, pp. 92-93, no. 88, pl. 88) and the group is found again in his Madonna and Child with Saints now in the National Gallery, London.