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Overview

The theological virtue of Charity is traditionally represented by a woman with several small children, one of whom she is shown nursing. Here, those figures appear hard and solid amidst a smoky, undefined setting. Sharp colors, like the pink and turquoise of the garments or the burnt orange and purple stripes of the tablecloth, heighten this contrast of tangible form and indeterminate space. It is, above all, in the ideal grace of slowly revolving poses that the real expressive force of the picture is conveyed.

That the subject is subservient to the style in this painting is underlined by the fact that the panel was first planned as a Holy Family, but with a few changes in details, del Sarto transformed it into a Charity.

Andrea d'Agnolo was called "del Sarto" from his father's trade as a tailor. He had a successful and productive career in Florence and was particularly celebrated for the beauty and originality of his color. Sarto worked briefly at the court of Francis I at Fontainebleau in 1518. This Charity, probably painted shortly before the artist's death, was also commissioned for the French king.

Provenance

Commissioned by Giambattista della Palla, agent for the King of France, who was apparently imprisoned before the painting was completed. The widow of Andrea del Sarto [d. 1530]; Domenico Conti, Florence, by 1550;[1] Niccolò Antinori, Florence, by 1550 until at least 1568. Bastiano Antinori, Florence, by 1584.[2] Pallavicini-Rospigliosi collection, Rome, by 1826-1827, when it was sold by Countess Camilla Compagnoni-Marefoschi [1782-1862] to John Proctor Anderdon, London and Farley Hall, Berkshire, England;[3] (Anderdon sale, Christie's, London, 15 May 1847, no. 34, bought in); (Anderdon sale, Christie's, London, 24 May 1851, no. 66, bought in). (Anonymous sale, London, 1856, bought in). Possibly P. Hinds, in 1859. (Anonymous sale, London, 1860); possibly purchased by Ripp.[4] Hugh Andrew Johnstone Munro of Novar [d. 1865], London and Novar, Highland, Scotland; (Munro sale, Christie's, London, 1 June 1878, no. 101); purchased by Permain. Presumably Thomas Humphrey Ward [1845-1926], Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England; (David M. Koetser Gallery, New York, London, and Zurich); sold 1954 to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York;[5] gift 1957 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1828
British Institution, London, 1828, no. 29
2015
Andrea del Sarto's Borgherini Holy Family, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2015-2016, no catalogue.
2022

Wealth and Beauty: Pier Francesco Foschi and Painting in Florence, Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, 2022, no. 9, repro.

Bibliography

1550
Vasari, Giorgio. Le Vite. 1550 and 1568. Milanesi ed. (Florence, 1880), 5:50-52.
1807
Borghini, Raffaello. Il Riposo. 3 vols. Milan, 1807:226
1846
Art Union 8 (December 1846):328
1888
Redford, George. Art Sales. 2 vols. London, 1888:251
1913
Graves, Algernon. A Century of Loan Exhibitions, 1813-1912. 5 vols. London, 1913-1915: 3(1914):1196.
1921
Graves, Algernon. Art Sales from Early in the Eighteenth Century to Early in the Twentieth Century (mostly Old Master and Early English Pictures). 3 vols. London, 1918–1921: 3(1921):140.
1956
Paintings and Sculpture from the Kress Collection Acquired by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation 1951-56. Introduction by John Walker, text by William E. Suida and Fern Rusk Shapley. National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1956: 22, no. 2, repro.
1957
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Comparisons in Art: A Companion to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. London, 1957 (reprinted 1959): pl. 52.
1959
Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1959: 107, repro.
1963
Berenson, Bernard. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Florentine School. 2 vols. London, 1963: 1:10.
1963
Freedberg, Sidney J. Andrea del Sarto, Catalouge Raisonné. 2 vols. Cambridge, 1963: 1:84-85, figs. 197-198. 2:154, 165-166, cat. 73.
1963
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 306, repro.
1965
Monti, Raffaele. Andrea del Sarto. Milan, 1965: 110, 178, cat. 177, fig. 272.
1965
Shearman, John K. Andrea del Sarto. 2 vols. Oxford, 1965: 1:109, 127, 147, pl. 164b. 2:277, 278, cat. 91.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 8.
1966
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 1:134, color repro.
1968
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 1, repro.
1968
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Italian Schools, XV-XVI Century. London, 1968: 128-129, fig. 314.
1971
Zeri, Federico, with Elizabeth Gardner. Italian Paintings. A Catalogue of the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Florentine School. New York, 1971: 220.
1972
Fredericksen, Burton B., and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, MA, 1972: 8, 647.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 12, repro.
1979
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. 2 vols. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1979: 1:5-7; 2:pl. 5.
1979
Watson, Ross. The National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1979: 37-38, pl. 21.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 172, no. 193, color repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 366, repro.
1986
Andrea del Sarto 1486-1530. Dipinti e disegni a Firenze. Exh. cat. Palazzo Pitti, Florence, 1986: 298, 313.
1986
Cordellier, Dominique. Hommage à Andrea del Sarto. Exh. cat. Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1986: 43.
1988
Natali, Antonio. Andrea del Sarto: Maestro della “maniera moderna”. Milan, 1988: 173, 178, figs. 175, 176.
1989
Natali, Antonio, and Alessandro Cecchi. Andrea del Sarto, Catalogo completo dei dipinti. Florence, 1989: 139, cat. 69.
1992
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 97, repro.
1994
Costamagna, Philippe. Pontormo. Milan, 1994: 81, 206.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 94-95, no. 70, color repro.
2009
Delieuvin, Vincent. “Andrea del Sartos Gemälde für den französischen Hof.” In Cornelia Syre, Jan Schmidt and Heike Stege, eds. Göttlich gemalt Andrea del Sarto. Die Heilige Familie in Paris un München. Exh. cat. Alte Pinakothek, Munich, 2009: 71, fig. 39.
2009
Lüdemann, Peter. “ ‘Les desseins […] sont fiers et d’un grand goût.’ Die Zeichnungen Andrea del Sartos zwischen Werkstattpraxis und künstlerischer inventio.” In Cornelia Syre, Jan Schmidt and Heike Stege, eds. Göttlich gemalt Andrea del Sarto. Die Heilige Familie in Paris un München. Exh. cat. Alte Pinakothek, Munich, 2009: 108.
2015
Brooks, Julian, with Denise Allen and Xavier F. Salomon. Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action. Exh. cat. Frick Collection, New York, 2015: 137, 139, fig. 40.3.
2015
Malanima, Giovanna, ed. L’eredità di Andrea del Sarto “Inventario delle robe”. Florence, 2015: 30, fig. 15.
2015
Szafaran, Yvonne, and Sue Ann Chui. “A Perfectionist Revealed: The Resourceful Method of Andrea del Sarto.” In Julian Brooks with Denise Allen and Xavier F. Salomon. Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action. Exh. cat. Frick Collection, New York, 2015: 14-15, fig. 6.
2017
Bayer, Andrea, and Michael Gallagher, with Silvia A. Centeno, John Delaney, and Evan Rea. “Andrea del Sarto’s Borgherini Holy Family and Charity: Two Intertwined Late Works.” Metropolitan Museum Journal 52 (2017): 34-55, figs. 2, 5, 6, 9, 12, 16, 26.

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