Virgin and Child
Andrea del Sarto (Italian (Florentine), 1486–1530)
82.5 x 65.4 cm (32 1/2 x 25 3/4 in.)
Medium or Technique
Oil on panel
Museum Council Gallery (Gallery 254)
Andrea del Sarto’s serene paintings often combine crisp draperies with blurred contours of facial features, limbs, and hands. Sarto—so named for his father’s profession as a sarto, or tailor—taught many of the brightest talents in Florence, including Rosso Fiorentino. But he also absorbed contemporary influences. This early work seems to be based on a specific Virgin and Child painting, now lost, by the slightly older Raphael.
By 1827, possibly Joseph Strutt (b. 1765 - d. 1844), Derby, England [see note 1]; by 1878, Edward Strutt, 1st Baron Belper (b. 1801 - d. 1880), Kingston Hall, Nottinghamshire [see note 2]; by descent within the Strutt family, probably to Alexander Ronald Strutt (b. 1912 - d. 1999), 4th Baron Belper [see note 3]; 1960, sold from the Lord Belper collection to Agnew's, London (stock no. 32592); July 19, 1971, sold by Agnew's to William A. Coolidge (b. 1901 - d. 1992), Topsfield and Cambridge, MA; 1993, bequest of William A. Coolidge to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 27, 1993)
 This may be the "Madonna and Child" by Andrea del Sarto that is listed in the 1827 inventory of Joseph Strutt of Derby (no. 55). There was an auction of paintings from his collection in 1889, but nothing by Andrea del Sarto was included.
 In 1878, Lord Belper lent a painting of the Virgin and Child by Andrea del Sarto to the Nottingham Castle Museum, where it was cat. no. 49 (the number "48" is inscribed, perhaps mistakenly, on the verso of the MFA painting). In 1881, a Virgin and Child was likewise recorded in the collection of Lord Belper at Kingston Hall; see Leonard Jacks, The Great Houses of Nottinghamshire (1881), pp. 67-68, who suggested that it was among the pictures purchased by Edward Strutt (nephew of Joseph Strutt) from the Duke d'Alberg. Edward Strutt did acquire paintings that can be identified in the Duke d'Alberg collection sale of 1817; the only Andrea del Sarto painting of the Virgin and Child auctioned at that time, however, also included St. John and three angels.
 According to information provided by Agnew's, London, this painting was acquired from Lord Belper. At the time it was sold to William Coolidge, it was said to come from an English private collection formed in the mid-nineteenth century.
Bequest of William A. Coolidge