Is this a Raphael? Madonna and Child painting to be auctioned at Dorotheum in Vienna

Madonna and Child is described by Dorotheum as being by an associate of Raffaello Sanzio, called Raphael, and is estimated at €300,000-€400,000 © Dorotheum

Viennas Dorotheum is offering a painting of Madonna and child with the attribution “close to Raphael” at its Old Master paintings sale on 22 October, when it is estimated to fetch between €300,000 and €400,000.

The work, billed as a discovery, was once in the collection of Adèle dAffry, a 19th-century Swiss noblewoman and artist who married Carlo Colonna, the duke of Castiglione. It is not known whether the painting came into her possession through her marriage, but it has remained in her family ever since. The Colonna family also owned known works by Raphael, including the Colonna Altarpiece in the Metropolitan Museum and the Colonna Madonna in Berlins Gemäldegalerie.

“Until now, this painting has been unknown,” says Mark MacDonnell, an expert in Old Masters at the Dorotheum. “It is an exciting painting to work on, but a complex one.”

Though the work is in many ways typical of paintings and drawings by Raphael from his time in Umbria between 1497 and 1504, the auction house could not secure an attribution to Raphael, MacDonnell says. It bears a particularly close resemblance to the Northbrook Madonna, a painting at the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts once attributed to Raphael. There is now no clear consensus on the Northbrook Madonnas attribution, though most scholars say that Raphael may have designed it or supervised its execution, MacDonnell says.

“It is very difficult to get anyone to say a work is a Raphael, and they are very wary if its an early work,” MacDonnell says. Dorotheum has opted for the terminology “an artist close to Raphael,” he says. “To go a step further is very problematic. The most obvious way would be to call it a studio work, but at that time, Raphael didnt have a studio. The most we can say is that iRead More – Source

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