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Spring 2018

Inquiry Magazine Archive

CSI: Florence

Art Detective

Professor’s attention to detail helps right a Renaissance wrong 

St Francis receiving the Christ child from the virgin

Art history Professor Mary Vaccaro recently helped a Renaissance artist finally receive his due. She proved that a drawing of a young woman in Florence's Uffizi Gallery was the work of Denys Calvaert (c.1540-1619), not Annibale Carracci (1560-1609), to whom it had long been credited. Dr. Vaccaro observed that the style of the drawing corresponded strongly with others by Calvaert, and upon scrutinizing the faded blue paper, identified the words "Dionisio/Calvaert/1618.".

However, the real breakthrough came when she examined the other side of the paper, which had a drawing of the bottom half of a kneeling, draped figure with bare feet. The rough sketch exactly matched the lower half of a St. Francis painting on Calvaert-signed-and-dated altarpiece at the Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery.

Her article on the reattribution was published as the cover story for the leading art journal The Burlington Magazine.

St Francis Receiving the Christ Child from the Virgin; Denys Calvaert, Museum & Gallery at Bob Jones University

More articles from this issue

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