A contemporary and follower of Correggio, Gatti is a rare artist and his style as a draftsman has only recently been defined. This is the first drawing by him to enter the Morgan collection. It shows the artist developing a composition of the Virgin, the Christ Child on her lap, and the Infant Saint John the Baptist. Subsidiary studies at the lower left and right prepare the Virgin's left hand that supports the Christ Child. A pentiment in the Christ Child's face shows that initially the head was placed further to the left; the final solution is repeated in the study below. The purpose of the drawing remains unknown. However, the Correggesque facial types may also be seen in a mother and child depicted in a fresco by Gatti, The Feeding of the Five Thousand, in the refectory of San Pietro al Po, Cremona (1552). The attribution to Gatti was confirmed by both David Ekserdjian and Giulo Bora according to the Christie's 2004 sale catalogue.
The Madonna and Child with the Infant Baptist, with Subsidiary Studies of the Infants and of the Madonna's Hands
Red chalk heightened with white chalk on light brown paper; squared in red chalk.
11 1/2 x 8 3/8 inches (293 x 213 mm)
Purchased on the Edwin H. Herzog Fund and the Walter C. Baker Fund.
Federico Zuccaro, his inscription on the verso, laid down, Da Mano Propria / del Sojaro; Rev. H. Wellesley (see Lugt 1384), according to a note on the old mount.