An angel and mule from The Flight into Egypt oil on canvas 79.5 x 63.2cm (31 5/16 x 24 7/8in).
PROVENANCE: With Agnew's, London, 1968 (cat. no. 13) Where purchased by the present owner's mother
LITERATURE: J. Daniels, Sebastiano Ricci (Hove, 1976), p. 84, cat. no. 285, p. 114, no. 409 J. Daniels, L'opera completa di Sebastiano Ricci (Milan, 1976), cat. no. 283, ill. F. Romei, P, Tosini, Collezioni veneziane nelle foto di Umberto Rossi. Dipinti e disegni dal XIV al XVIII secolo (Naples, 1995), pp. 258-9, ill. Annalisa Scarpa, Sebastiano Ricci (Milan, 2006), no. 569 (as whereabouts unknown)
The present painting is an autograph version of the right-hand section of Ricci's Flight into Egypt, formerly on loan to the Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield.
The existence of several copies both of the full painting, formerly at Springfield, and of the right-hand section attest to the popularity of the present composition (at the Raleigh Museum, North Carolina and with the Schaeffer Galleries, New York 1973 respectively). Jeffrey Daniels suggests that the Springfield Flight into Egypt dates to Ricci's English period and notes the close similarities between it and the painting of the same subject at Chatsworth. The figure of Joseph in the Springfield work closely relates to that in the Chatsworth painting and the Virgin is of the same facial type particularly associated with Ricci's English period. These stylistic similarities along with the English provenance of the Chatsworth painting further support the dating of the whole composition, and therefore this work, to Ricci's time in England (circa 1712-1716).