MADONNA AND CHILD WITH THE INFANT ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST IN A LANDSCAPE
measurements note 8 1/2 by 7 in.; 21.6 by 17.8 cm.
oil on panel
Cardinal Joseph Fesch, Rome; His deceased sale, Rome, Palais Ricci, March 17-18, 1845, pp. 109-110 (as School of Raphael).
We are grateful to Everett Fahy for identifying this painting to be a work by Timoteo Viti, based on firsthand inspection. He dates it to circa 1500-05.
Both Vasari and Malvasia record that Viti studied with Francesco Francia in Bologna between 1490-95, though there is no documentary evidence of this. By 1503, Viti was active in Urbino, and his style reflects the influence of both Perugino and Raphael. This charming and intimate painting was once in the famed collection of Cardinal Joseph Fesch, half-brother of Letizia Ramolino Bonaparte, the mother of Napoléon Bonaparte (see this sale, Part I, lot 59). At the time of his death in 1839, his collection comprised nearly 16,000 works. While a number of paintings and works of art were sent by his heir, Joseph Bonaparte, to Corsica (the Musée Fesch in Ajaccio opened in 1852), a large number of works, such as the present painting, were sold in a series of sales in Rome between 1843-45.