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A typical example of Sassoferrato’s small-scale pictures of the Virgin; here, the rigorous triangular composition is closely based on an oval etching, in reverse, after Guido Reni. The vogue for such images was stimulated by the Marian cult in the Counter Reformation, and Sassoferrato appears to have painted them in quantity, keeping a reserve stock to meet the ever-increasing demand. This composition was repeated many times, although this appears to be the only oval version. Such sentimental imagery accorded well with the taste of the 4th Marquess of Hertford, who bought two versions of the same subject (see Sassoferrato P565), but otherwise demonstrated little interest in Italian religious painting of the period.

The Wallace Collection





oil on canvas


H 46 x W 43.2 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, 1849; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897

Work type



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The Wallace Collection

Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, Greater London W1U 3BN England

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