The Virgin adoring the Infant Christ
(Ippolita Scarsella Scarsellino)


This is probably the picture described by Masini (op. cit.) as hanging on the wall to the right of the high altar of the Bolognese Church of Corpus Domini; ‘…. sopra la medesima porta e una tavola con la Madonna in piedi, che adora il Bambino Gesù giacente in terra, di mano di Ippolito Scarsellini.’ The somewhat unusual composition, and the Christ Child’s mannered pose echoing Parmigianino, seem to support the supposition that the painting was conceived to be viewed from beneath as Masini describes.

Although difficult to date this painting with any degree of precision, its extremely refined figures with their delicate gestures and subtly related glances – coupled with the superb landscape background – indicates that it is a mature work. The face of the Virgin recalls that of the Magdalen in a Noli mi Tangere in a Ferrarese private collection (repr. M. A. Novelli, Lo Scarsellino, Bologna, 1955, plate 30).

160 x 111 cm.
Oil on canvas

Probably from the Church of Corpus Domini, Bologna; Morandotti, 1969.


A. Masini, Bologna Perlustrata, Bologna, 1666, p. 118.

‘Notable Works of Art Now on the Market:Supplement’, The Burlington Magazine, CXI, no.795, June 1969, p.1, plateVI.

A. Mezzeti and E. Mattaliano, Indice ragionato delle Vite de’ pittori e scultori ferraresi di Gerolamo Baruffaldi, Ferrara, 1980, I, p.40.

G. Baruffaldi, ‘Vite de pittori e scultori Ferraresi’, Bologna, 1986, p.100.


London, Matthiesen Fine Art Ltd., From Borso to Cesare d’Este: The School of Ferrara 1450-1628, 1984, no. 55, with incorrect dimensions (on loan from a Private Swiss Collection).

Historical Period
Mannerism & Cinquecento - 1530-1600 & Baroque - 1600-1720
Historical events
Italian - Other Regions
1984-From Borso to Cesare d'Este, 1450 - 1628: The School of Ferrara.
An exhibition in aid of The Courtauld Institute Trust Appeal Fund. Ten introductory essays on Ferrara and aspects of Ferrarese art by Cecil Gould, Lanfranco Caretti, Claudio Gallico, Vincenzo Fontana, Thomas Tuohy, Emmanuele Mattaliano, Giorgio Bassani, Giuliano Briganti, Alastair Smith, with charts and Concordat of Ferrarese paintings in British public collections. 200 pages, 50 colour plates, 84 black and white illustrations. £15 or $23 inc. p&p.

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