Unknown artist (Italian, 19th century?)
Christ and Joseph
Oil on canvas, 105.3 x 83.8 cm
Gift of Miss Mollison, 1885
National Gallery of Victoria (p.311.3-1)
This work is described in NGV 1894 simply as a “copy of an old master.” The composition is in the Caravaggesque tradition featuring candlelit figures (prevalent in Italian, Dutch and French 17th-century painting).
The donor was presumably Elizabeth Mollison, who endowed a theological library to St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne (opened in 1893, and now located at Trinity College at the University of Melbourne), in honour of her brother Alexander Fullerton Mollison, a Victorian pioneer/squatter.
AR 1885, p.36; NGV 1894, V.viii.10
See http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/3707/ (not reproduced); for the black and white reproduction shown here see Dean European paintings of the 19th and early 20th centuries (1995), p.120 (as Unknown, 19C)
For the Caravaggesque tradition, see e.g. Benedict Nicolson, The International Caravaggesque Movement: lists of pictures by Caravaggio and his followers throughout Europe from 1590-1650, Phaidon, 1979
For Miss Mollison and her endowment, see http://www.dml.vic.edu.au/MCD/PolTrinity.html (the Mollison library at Trinity College); and for Alexander Fullerton Mollison, see http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mollison-alexander-fullerton-2466 (biography by Gael Thomsen, published in ADB vol.2, 1967)