Joseph Holding the Christ Child
Oil on copper
Octagonal, 5 5/8 x 4 5/8 inches
(14.3 x 11.7 cm)
Private Collection, Buenos Aires
Bardellino was a student of Francesco de Mura, but his style, influenced by that of Corrado Giaquinto and Giacomo del Pò, is somewhat freer and more decorative than that of his master. Among his significant early works is his Last Supper in the Cathedral of Bitonto and the ceiling painting Macro Caring for a Wounded Warrior in the Ospedale degli Incurabili, Naples. While noted for his grand decorative projects, Bardellino’s delicacy of touch is evident in the preparatory bozzetti, such as those in the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin.
Bardellino’s oeuvre varies in scale and subject from large decorative genre paintings to intimate devotional cabinet pictures, such as the present work. Prof. Nicola Spinosa, who has confirmed the attribution to Bardellino (written communication, April 23, 2013) dates the present painting to around 1760, when Bardellino’s style is especially close to that of De Mura. A work of great delicacy and intimacy, it treats a subject which grew in popularity during the Baroque period – a kind of paternal version of the Madonna and Child.