recto: Mary with Christ child reclining on her lap, surrounded by draperies, ascending at center top, accompanied by nude male angels, with standing angels in top corners; angel in ULC plays a pipe; house-like structure at bottom center being lifted aloft by other angels on left and right sides and beneath structure; sketchy style; verso: Mary with Christ child standing on her lap being carried aloft by a group of angels beneath and behind her, with three musical angels in ULC, playing a lute, a drum and a pipe

The Miracle of the Santa Casa of Loreto (recto); The Virgin and Child Carried by Angels (verso), c. 1700

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The successful Roman painter Pietro Antonio de’ Pietri was a celebrated draftsman. In this drawing, de’ Pietri represents the miracle of the Holy House of Loreto. According to legend, the ancient house of the Virgin Mary and Joseph was brought by angels from Nazareth to the Italian town of Loreto in 1291 when it was under threat of destruction by the Saracens who were driving the Crusaders out of the Holy Land. The Santa Casa shrine is an important Catholic pilgrimage site. De’ Pietri’s bravura is on full display in this double-sided sheet, which employs two very distinct manners. On the recto, his handling of the pen and brush is expressive and use of wash is bold, employed to represent the energy of the fluttering choir of angels and miraculous flickering light around the Virgin and Child. On the verso, in contrast, de’ Pietri represents the figures with exacting pen and ink lines and crosshatching to create the illusion of three-dimensions on the flat sheet of paper.

Details
Title
The Miracle of the Santa Casa of Loreto (recto); The Virgin and Child Carried by Angels (verso)
Artist Life
(Rome), 1663 - 1716
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2015.89
Provenance
Sale, Antoine Ader, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, June 27, 2001, no. 74; (W.M. Brady, New York); Horace Wood Brock, Gloucester, Mass. (until 2015; to Ongpin); (Stephen Ongpin, London, 2015)
Curator Approved

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recto: Mary with Christ child reclining on her lap, surrounded by draperies, ascending at center top, accompanied by nude male angels, with standing angels in top corners; angel in ULC plays a pipe; house-like structure at bottom center being lifted aloft by other angels on left and right sides and beneath structure; sketchy style; verso: Mary with Christ child standing on her lap being carried aloft by a group of angels beneath and behind her, with three musical angels in ULC, playing a lute, a drum and a pipe