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Three Angels

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Fragment of MFA's Strozzi, Saint Sebastian Tended by Saint Irene and her Maid (1972.83)


About 1631-1636, the composition was created as a single canvas; probably by the end of the 17th century, it had been separated into two sections, MFA object nos. 1972.83 (lower section) and 2003.72 (upper section) [see note 1]. Private collection, Genoa [see note 2]. Until 2002, Bader collection, Augsburg, Germany [see note 3]; June 14-15, 2002, anonymous (Bader) sale, Auktionshaus Georg Rehm, Augsburg, lot 8067 [see note 4], to an anonymous dealer, Germany; 2003, sold by this anonymous dealer to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 26, 2003) NOTES: [1] The original composition was probably divided by the mid-17th century, and almost certainly by 1693. This is suggested by the existence of two paintings attributed to Strozzi's assistant, Ermanno Stroiffi (b. 1613 - d. 1693), which replicate the fragments now at the MFA. It has been determined that these two canvases (church of San Martino, Nespoledo, near Udine, 161 x 130 cm. and Museo Civico, Padua, 74 x 114 cm.) were never part of a single composition (Lucio Zambon, Conservator, oral communication, October 1, 2004), but were created separately, probably after the original by Strozzi had been divided. Strozzi's canvas, therefore, was most likely divided before Stroiffi's death in 1693, either by Strozzi himself or by an early owner of his work. A technical examination of the stretchers confirms that the canvas had been cut by the late 18th to mid-19th century. [2] The upper fragment was reproduced, without indication of its location, by Orlando Grosso, "Note ed appunti su Bernardo Strozzi," Rassegna d'Arte 9 (1922): p. 158. Luisa Mortari, "Bernardo Strozzi" (Rome, 1966), p. 132, fig. 126, also reproduced it and gave its location as a private collection, Genoa. The dates that it was in this collection, however, are not known. The link between the painting reproduced by Grosso and Mortari and the MFA's painting of St. Sebastian (1972.83) was first proposed by Barry Hannegan, "Strozzi's Saint Sebastian," MFA Bulletin 71, no. 364 (1973), p. 66. [3] This information was supplied by Georg Rehm. How and when the Bader family came into possession of the painting is not known. It may have been purchased from Kurt Bösch (b. 1907 - d. 2000) of Augsburg, from whom the Baders acquired other works of art, though this is not certain. [4] Attributed in the catalogue to an Italian artist, about 1800.

Credit Line

Henry H. and Zoe Oliver Sherman Fund

Upper Section of Saint Sebastian Tended by Saint Irene and Her Maid

about 1631–36

Object Place



Overall: 85 x 121.5 cm (33 7/16 x 47 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas