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Provenance

Private collection, Genoa.[1] Probably (Arthur Sambon, Paris), by 1929. Benno Geiger, Vienna.[2] (Count Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi, Florence); purchased 1939 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York;gift 1943 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1929
Alessandro Magnasco, Galerie Sambon, Paris, 1929.
1940
Masterpieces of Art. European & American Paintings 1500-1900, New York World's Fair, May-October 1940, no. 34.
1940
Paintings by Alessandro Magnasco, Durlacher Brothers, New York, 1940, no. 1.
1996
Alessandro Magnasco 1667-1749, Civico Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Palazzo Reale, Milan, 1996, no. 42, repro.
Bibliography
1941
Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 119, no. 528.
1942
Book of Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 250, repro. 142.
1943
Morandotti, Alessandro. Cinque pittori del settecento. Rome, 1943: 71.
1945
Geiger, Benno. Saggio d'un catalogo delle pitture di Alessandro Magnasco. Venice, 1945: 88.
1947
Evans, Grose. "The Subtle Satire of Magnasco." Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 6th ser., 32 (1947): 42, figs. 1, 3.
1949
Geiger, Benno. Magnasco. Bergamo, 1949: 87, 152-153.
1952
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds., Great Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1952: 70, color repro.
1959
Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1959: 237, repro.
1961
Walker, John, Guy Emerson, and Charles Seymour. Art Treasures for America: An Anthology of Paintings & Sculpture in the Samuel H. Kress Collection. London, 1961:, 161, repro. pl. 155, color repro. pl. 157
1962
De Logu, Giuseppe. La natura morta italiana. Bergamo, 1962: 126.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 81.
1966
Dürst, Hans. Alessandro Magnasco. Teufen, 1966: 24, 104, fig. 31.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 71, repro.
1972
Fredericksen, Burton B., and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972: 117.
1973
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Italian Schools, XVI-XVIII Century. London, 1973: 112, fig. 210, 214.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 208, repro.
1977
Franchini Guelfi, Fausta. Alessandro Magnasco. Genoa, 1977: 132-134, repro.
1979
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. 2 vols. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1979: I:293-295, II:pl. 207.
1984
Grigoriva, Irina, and Asja Kantor-Gukouskja. I grandi disegni italiani delle collezioni dell'Ermitage di Leningrado. Milan, 1984: cat. 59.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 344, no. 469, color repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 241, repro.
1991
Franchini Guelfi, Fausta. Alessandro Magnasco. Soncino, 1991: 24.
1994
Muti, Laura. Alessandro Magnasco. Faenza, 1994: 267, nos. 390, 391 (repro.), as by Magnasco and Peruzzini.
1996
De Grazia, Diane, and Eric Garberson, with Edgar Peters Bowron, Peter M. Lukehart, and Mitchell Merling. Italian Paintings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1996: 178-184, color repro. 180.
2002
Grande Pittura Genovese dall'Ermitage da Luca Cambiaso a Magnasco. Exh. cat. Palazzo Ducale, Genoa. Saint Petersburg, Genoa, and Milan, 2002: 142.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 243, no. 194, color repro.
Technical Summary

The support is a medium-weight, plain-weave fabric. It was prepared with a grayish white ground, over which was applied a reddish brown imprimatura. A thin layer of dark brown paint was used to lay in the lower landscape, and then the figures and other elements were roughed in over it using unblended strokes of white paint. After the figures were completed, thick swaths of paint were applied with random strokes in the landscape area. Finally, impastoed highlights and details were added. The reddish brown imprimatura shows through in the sky and landscape, where it serves as a middle tone.

The original tacking margins have been removed, but cusping is present along all four edges. There are losses and abrasion throughout. The yellowed varnish is generally thick but thinner in lighter passages. The painting was relined in 1940 by Stephen Pichetto. Discolored varnish was removed and the painting was restored first during the 1940 treatment and, most recently, in 1959 by Mario Modestini.