Galleria Borghese logo
Search results for
No results :(

Hints for your search:

  • Search engine results update instantly as soon as you change your search key.
  • If you have entered more than one word, try to simplify the search by writing only one, later you can add other words to filter the results.
  • Omit words with less than 3 characters, as well as common words like "the", "of", "from", as they will not be included in the search.
  • You don't need to enter accents or capitalization.
  • The search for words, even if partially written, will also include the different variants existing in the database.
  • If your search yields no results, try typing just the first few characters of a word to see if it exists in the database.

Holy Family with The Infant Saint John the Baptist

Albertinelli Mariotto

(Florence 1474 - 1515)

First documented in connection with the Borghese Collection in 1833, this painting is a product of the Florentine workshop of San Marco, as is suggested by the monogram – a cross with two rings – visible in the centre of the composition. Inventories and critics have variously attributed the panel to Fra’ Bartolomeo and Mariotto Albertinelli. It depicts the Holy Family with the infant John the Baptist, who holds up a cross with a scroll. God’s appearance to Moses is represented in the landscape behind the Virgin.

Object details

oil on panel
cm 92 x 80

Salvator Rosa, 115 x 94 x 8 cm


Rome, Borghese Collection, 1833 (Inventario Fidecommissario 1833, p. 23; Della Pergola 1959); purchased by Italian state, 1902.


Datato lungo il bordo del tavolo '1511'.

In basso, al centro della composizione, monogramma della bottega del convento di San Marco di Firenze formato da una croce racchiusa da un doppio anello.

  • 1996 - Firenze, Palazzo Pitti - Museo di San Marco
  • 2014/15 - Brescia, Museo di Santa Giulia
Conservation and Diagnostic
  • 1903 - Luigi Bartolucci (support);
  • 1995 - Alessandra Sorrentino, Carlo Festa - Laboratorio di restauro SBAS (cleaning);
  • 2012 - Paola Tollo.


The provenance of this panel is unknown. It was first cited in connection with the Borghese Collection in the 1833 Inventario Fidecommissario as a work by Fra’ Bartolomeo. While Cavalcaselle (1864) rejected this attribution, Morelli (1897) revived it, proposing also the name of Mariotto Albertinelli. This scholar, in fact, argued that the work was executed by both artists working together, as is suggested by the presence of the monogram at the centre of the composition, a cross enclosed by two rings, the symbol used by the Florentine workshop of San Marco. Furthermore, the date shown on the edge of the table on which the Child is leaning – 1511 – corresponds to the period of close collaboration between Albertinelli and Fra’ Bartolomeo.

Nonetheless, the debate over the artist still continues, dividing critics between those who maintain that the entire work was by Albertinelli (Knapp 1903; Longhi 1928; Della Pergola 1959; Becherucci 1960; Borgo 1976; Padovani 1996), those who propose that it was a collaborative effort of the two artists (Gruyer 1886; Mündler 1891; Venturi 1893; Herrmann Fiore 2006), and those who claim that Albertini painted over a cartoon prepared by the Dominican friar. (Berenson 1909; Id. 1936). This uncertainty is fully comprehensible, especially in light of the existence of other versions of the work – in the Mond collection (National Gallery, London), in the Galleria Corsini (Florence) and in the private Moss collection (Riverdale, NY). The Borghese exemplar is clearly one of those works for which certain attribution is problematic, as products of the San Marco workshop – and of busy ateliers generally – were painted in series, beginning from a common prototype. In his work on the Adoration in the Mond collection, Cecil Gould took these considerations into account, going on to propose that the Borghese and Corsini versions derived from a single cartoon. For his part, Ludovico Borgo (1974) assumed the existence of an original, now lost, by Fra’ Bartolomeo in the San Marco workshop.

A new twist was given to the critical debate in the context of the Florentine exhibition on Fra’ Bartolomeo. Diagnostic testing conducted on that occasion brought to light several elements of which scholars had until then been unaware. One of these was that the Borghese painting revealed several changes of strategy during its execution, while the Corsini version did not, suggestion that the latter was a copy of the former (Padovani 1996). Nonetheless, the discovery of the Holy Family of Riverdale, which has been definitively ascribed to Mariotto (Padovani 1996), has led critics to reassess the question of attribution of the Borghese panel: in spite of its high quality, it does not so clearly show those stylistic characteristics to permit us to attribute it with complete confidence to either Mariotto or Fra’ Bartolomeo; the present writer is in agreement with this view.

Antonio Iommelli

  • J. A. Crowe, G. B. Cavalcaselle, A History of Painting in North Italy, VI, London 1864, pp. 94, 99;
  • G. Gruyer, Fra Bartolomeo della Porta e Mariotto Albertinelli, Paris-London 1886, p. 99; Mündler 1891, p. 303;
  • G. Piancastelli, Catalogo dei quadri della Galleria Borghese, in Archivio Galleria Borghese, 1891, p. 227;
  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, p. 157;
  • G. Morelli, Della Pittura Italiana. Studi Storici Critici: Le Gallerie Borghese e Doria Pamphili in Roma, Milano 1897, p. 118;
  • B. Berenson, The Drawings of Florentine Painters, London 1903, p. 4;
  • F. Knapp, Fra Bartolomeo della Porta und die Schule von San Marco, Halle 1903, pp. 219-220;
  • B. Berenson, Florentine Painters, New York 1909, p. 97;
  • J. A. Crowe, G.B. Cavalcaselle, A History of Painting in Italy, a cura di B. Borenius, London 1914, p. 105;
  • H. von der Gabelentz, Fra Bartolomeo und die Florentiner Renaissance, I, Leipzig 1922, pp. 72, 74, 116, 189;
  • C. Galassi Paluzzi, Indice delle Opere di Pittura esistenti in Roma, in “Roma”, V, 1928, p. 265;
  • R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle Gallerie Italiane, I, La R. Galleria Borghese, Roma 1928, p. 205;
  • H. Bodmer, Opere giovanili e tarde di Mariotto Albertinelli, in “Dedalo”, IX, 1928, p. 614;
  • F. Knapp, Eine Heilige Familie von fra' Bartolomeo, in “Pantheon”, V, 1930, pp. 37-39;
  • B. Berenson, Pitture Italiane del Rinascimento, Milano 1936, p. 3;
  • P. della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese. I Dipinti, II, Roma 1959, pp. 9-10, n. 2;
  • M. L. Beccherucci, Albertinelli, Mariotto, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, I, Roma 1960, p. 722;
  • L. Borgo, The works of Mariotto Albertinelli, New York, London 1976, p. 416;
  • S. Padovani, in Fra' Bartolomeo e la scuola di San Marco. L'età di Savonarola, catalogo della mostra (Firenze, Palazzo Pitti, Museo di San Marco, 1996), a cura di S. Padovani, Venezia 1996, p. 140;
  • C. Stefani, in P. Moreno, C. Stefani, Galleria Borghese, Milano 2000, p. 289;
  • K. Herrmann Fiore, Galleria Borghese Roma scopre un tesoro. Dalla pinacoteca ai depositi un museo che non ha più segreti, San Giuliano Milanese 2006, p. 103;
  • O. D'Albo, in Fra' Bartolomeo. Sacra Famiglia a modello, catalogo della mostra (Brescia, Museo di Santa Giulia, 2014-15), a cura di P. Bolpagni, E. Lucchesi Ragni, S. Padovani, Genova 2014. pp. 49-53;
  • S. Padovani, Fra' Bartolomeo e Mariotto Albertinelli: il problema della bottega, in Fra' Bartolomeo. Sacra Famiglia a modello, catalogo della mostra (Brescia, Museo di Santa Giulia, 2014-15), a cura di P: Bolpagni, E. Lucchesi Ragni, S. Padovani, Genova 2014, p. 15.