Catalogue No. 66
'La Belle Jardinière'

Artist: Raphael, After
'La Belle Jardinière'

1483-1520
Oil on Panel 48 x 32¼ ins

Collection Details

Probably Alexander Baring, 1st Lord Ashburton; included in the sale of his widow, Louisa, Lady Ashburton (d.1903), Christie’s, 8 July 1905, lot 16, as ‘Raphael’: bt by Agnew for the 1st Lord Faringdon.

Related Pictures
A copy of Raphael’s famous picture of 1507 in the Louvre, reproducing the signature on the hem of the Virgin’s robe, by a Flemish artist, probably working in the first half of the sixteenth century.  The copy is not exact in every detail and both in the landscape, which has been modified to comply with the Northern tradition, and in the heads of the Madonna and the two children, which recall the work of a painter such as Joos van Cleve, Flemish characteristics are apparent.

Background
The association of Joos van Cleve with the picture might indeed deserve consideration were its condition not so abject and any judgement consequently impossible.  Raphael’s Holy Family had been acquired by Francis I, to whom Joos van Cleve may at one period have been court painter (cf Guicciardini, Description de tout le Pais-Bas, 1568, p.132).  Certain areas such as the Madonna’s face indicate that the painting of the figures may originally have been of a reasonably high standard, but the treatment of the foreground foliage, which is the best-preserved part of the picture, is perfunctory.  A problem is introduced by the fact that the panel is of pine, a type of wood not commonly employed in a Northern climate where the use of oak would be customary.  For stylistic reasons, however, it seems out of the question for the work to be by an Italian artist.  The use of pine suggests that the picture is by a Flemish hand, working in Italy.