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Head of a Cherub

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About 1522-24 until 1587, apse of San Giovanni Evangelista, Parma, Italy (original commission) [see note 1]. By 1888, Abbot Michele Bignami (b. 1808 - d. 1888), Casalmaggiore, near Parma, Italy [see note 2]; sold at his death to Biagi, Cremona; 1917, sold by Biagi to an unknown collector, Treviglio [see note 3]. 1955, Ettore Sestieri, Rome; sold by Sestieri to Adolph Loewi, Los Angeles; 1956, sold by Loewi to the MFA for $2,800. (Accession Date: April 12, 1956) NOTES: [1] The fresco in the apse depicted the Coronation of the Virgin, of which this was a part. In 1587, when the choir of the church was extended, the apse was destroyed. [2] This information comes from a handwritten note once attached to the back of the painting, where the owner is named as "Bignami" from Parma. This is probably the collector Michele Bignami. [3] This information comes from the note cited above (see n. 2); the name of the buyer is illegible. In the MFA curatorial file is a letter from the conservator Luigi Cavenaghi, Milan (August 6, 1917) that authenticates the painting but does not specify its owner or location.

Credit Line

Charles Potter Kling Fund


21.6 x 20.0 cm (8 1/2 x 7 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Fresco transferred to panel