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Probably Natale Rondinini, Rome [1540-1627]; his son, Alessandro Rondinini [d. 1639], Rome; his wife, Felice Zacchia Rondinini [1593-1667], Rome, 1662; by inheritance to their grandson, Alessandro Rondinini [1660-1740], Rome,[1] and inventoried at his death;[2] to the Del Bufalo Della Valle Cancellieri family, Rome, probably by inheritance through Alessandro's sister, Felicità Rondinini, who married a Marchese del Bufalo della Valle;[3] by inheritance to Marchese Paolo del Bufalo Della Valle, Rome, by 1840; by inheritance to Monsignor Federico Fioretti, Rome, by 1944;[4] sold 1952 through (Vitale Bloch, Netherlands) and (Victor Spark, New York)[5] to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York;[6] gift 1961 to NGA.

Exhibition History

Cloister of San Salvator in Lauro, Rome, 1694.
Cloister of San Salvator in Lauro, Rome, 1710.
Mostra dei pittori del seicento, Rome, 1945, no. 4.
Mostra del Caravaggio e dei Caravaggeschi, Palazzo Reale, Milan, 1951, no. 107, 65.
Caravaggio's 'The Taking of Christ': Saints and Sinners in Baroque Painting, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1999, brochure, no. 7, repro.
Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi: Father and Daughter Painters in Baroque Italy, Museo del Palazzo di Venezia, Rome; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, 2001-2002, no. 31, repro.
Caravaggio to Canaletto: The Glory of Italian Baroque and Rococo Painting, Szépmüvészeti Museum, Budapest, Budapest, 2013-2014, no. 34, repro.

Technical Summary

The support consists of four separate pieces of medium-weight, loosely woven plain-weave fabric sewn together in a pattern visible in x-radiographs. Although there is cusping along the edges of the center section, all technical evidence indicates that the painting was originally conceived at the present dimensions. X-radiographs show no interruption of any compositional lines at the edges of the central piece, and the analysis of cross-sections reveals an identical buildup of ground and paint layers over all four sections. Cross-sections reveal a white layer. The raised seams were smoothed by a thicker ground application.

X-radiographs suggest that the main figure of Saint Cecilia, which has several pentimenti, was painted first. The outlines of the red drapery over her left thigh originally extended to the right as far as the angel's sheet of music. These outlines were changed at least once, but were later hidden by the organ and the saint's right arm. The red skirt was at least partially modeled before the organ was painted on top. X-radiographs also indicate that the saint's hands have been raised 2 to 3 cm. The angel and organ pipes were planned and painted with no overlapping of forms. A slight change in the angel's forehead, making it more vertical, is visible to the eye. Air-path x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy suggests the very early use of an antimony-containing pigment in the parts of the painting stylistically attributed to Lanfranco.

The varnish is slightly yellowed. There are losses in the saint's right leg and in the lower-left quadrant, and a vertical loss of about 5 cm in the angel's wing near the right edge. The painting was relined, discolored varnish was removed, and the painting was restored in 1955 by Mario Modestini.


Hermanin, Federico. "Gli ultimi avanzi di un' antica galleria romana." Roma (1944): 45-46.
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: 82, no. 29, repro., as by Orazio Gentileschi.
Walker, John. "The Nation's Newest Old Masters." The National Geographic Magazine 110, no. 5 (November 1956): color repro. 640, 646, 655.
Emiliania, Andrea. "Orazio Gentileschi: nuove proposte per il viaggio marchigiano." Paragone 103 (1958): 43.
Judson, J. Richard. Gerrit van Honthorst. The Hague, 1959: 177.
Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1959: 218, repro., as by Orazio Gentileschi.
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Later Italian Painting in the National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1960 (Booklet Number Six in Ten Schools of Painting in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.): 20, color repro.
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. Treasures from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1962: 44, color repro., as by Orazio Gentileschi.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 309, repro., as by Orazio Gentileschi.
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 56, as by Orazio Gentileschi.
Bissell, R. Ward. "The Baroque Painter Orazio Gentileschi: His Career in Italy." 2 vols. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1966.
Moir, Alfred. The Italian Followers of Caravaggio. 2 vols. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1967: 1:70, 72, 83, 118; 2:76, fig. 71.
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 49, repro., as by Orazio Gentileschi.
Herzog, Erich. Die Gemäldegalerie der staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Kassel. Hanau, 1969: 85, no. 43.
Bissell, R. Ward. "Orazio Gentileschi: Baroque without Rhetoric." The Art Quarterly 3 (1971): 277.
Spear, Richard. Caravaggio and His Followers. Exh. cat. Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, 1971: 103.
Finley, David Edward. A Standard of Excellence: Andrew W. Mellon Founds the National Gallery of Art at Washington. Washington, 1973: 89.
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Italian Schools, XVI-XVIII Century. London, 1973: 83, fig. 148.
Wittkower, Rudolf. Art and Architecture in Italy 1600 to 1750. 3rd rev. ed. Harmondsworth, 1973: 340, n. 5. (Reprinted 1980)
Mirimonde, Albert P. de Sainte-Cécile: Metamorphoses d'un thème musical. Geneva, 1974: 44, repro.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 148, repro., as by Orazio Gentileschi.
Santi, Francesco. "Una tela di Orazio Gentileschi in Umbria." Bollettino d'Arte 5th ser., 41 (1976): 43-44, figs. 3, 6.
Nicolson, Benedict. The International Caravaggesque Movement: Lists of Pictures by Caravaggio and His Followers throughout Europe from 1590-1650. Oxford, 1979.
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. 2 vols. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1979: 1:199-200, 543-544; 2:pl. 138, 378, 379, as by Orazio Gentileschi.
Bissell, R. Ward. Orazio Gentileschi and the Poetic Tradition in Caravaggesque Painting. University Park, Pennsylvania, 1981: 39-40, 165, 166-167, no. 37, fig. 86.
Bernardini, Maria Grazia. Arte Sacra in Umbria. Mostra di dipinti restaurati 1976-1981. Exh. cat. Galleria Nazionale, Perugia, 1982: 100-101.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 232, no. 296, color repro.
Camiz, Trinchieri. In Cinque secoli di stampa musicale in Europa. Exh. cat. Palazzo Venezia, Rome. Naples, 1985: 254.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 172, repro.
Emiliani, Andrea. "Il viaggio marchigiano di Orazio Gentileschi." In Giovan Francesco Guerrieri. Dipinti e Disegni--Un accostamento all'opera. Exh. cat. Palazzo di Città, San Severino Marche; Chiesa di San Giorgio in Poggiale, Bologna.Bologna,1988: 47.
Nicolson, Benedict. Caravaggism in Europe. 2nd ed. of International Caravaggesque Movement, revised and enlarged by Luisa Verrova. 3 vols. Turin, 1989: 1:114, no. 207; 2:fig. 207.
De Grazia, Diane, and Erich Schleier. "Saint Cecilia and an Angel: 'The Heads by Gentileschi, the Rest by Lanfranco." The Burlington Magazine 136 (1994): 73-78, color repro.
Townsend, Richard P. Botticelli to Tiepolo: Three Centuries of Italian Painting. Exh. cat. Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa; Joslyn Art Mus., Omaha; New Orleans Mus. of Art; Birmingham Museum of Art; Dayton Art Institute. Tulsa, 1994: 143-145, cat. 16.
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: 103-112, color repro. 105.
Southgate, M. Therese. The Art of JAMA: One Hundred Covers and Essays from The Journal of the American Medical Association. St. Louis, 1997: 38-39, color repro.

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