Picart, Étienne (1632-1721; French), after Domenichino (1581-1641; Italian) (1560-1609; Italian)
Jesus Christ dormant entre les bras de la Vierge, vulgairement appellée le Silence du Carrache [Madonna and Sleeping Christ Child with St John the Baptist] 1681
Gift of George Collins Levey 1879
National Gallery of Victoria (p.183.2-1)
= Levey gift, cat.9
This engraving reproduces a canvas acquired for Louis XIV in 1671 (Louvre Inv.195) as the work of Annibale Carracci, and described thus in the older literature on the Cabinet du roi, and the entries on this print in NGV 1894 and 1905.
Modern scholars now regard the Louvre painting as by Domenichino c.1605, describing it as the most notable copy of Carracci’s original painting of c.1599-1600, formerly in the Farnese Collection, and now in the British Royal Collection (purchased for George III in 1766).
The inscription indicates that the print is at same scale as the painting. The composition was known as “Il Silenzio” because of the Virgin’s hushing gesture to the young St John, charmingly urging him not to wake Christ.
NGV 1894, p.108 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 2nd bay, no.39); NGV 1905, p.123 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 2nd bay, no.33), in each case as by Picart after Carracci
For the NGV impression, see https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/37588/ (not reproduced; as by an unknown engraver after Agostino Carracci). Cf. Suite et Arrangement (1727), p.1 (Picart after Jesus dormant, du Carrache); Duplessis Cabinet du roi (1869), p.7
For Carracci’s painting, see Donald Posner, Annibale Carracci (1971), cat.122 (noting Domenichino’s copy and Picart’s engraving); and Lucy Whitaker & others, The Art of Italy in the Royal Collection: Renaissance and Baroque, London, 2007, cat.90, pp.270-271. For the Domenichino, see Louvre cat.II (1981), p.171 (Inv.195): bought from Jabach in 1671