The Nativity, by Carlo Dolci (1616-1687).

Oil on copper, 18cm by 12cm.

The 1688 Burghley Inventory records: ‘My Lady’s Clossett….6 pictures in Ebbony fframes (viz) The adoration, a St Sebastian, a young Christ’s head, St Johns head in a Charger, the flight into Egypt, ye Nativity in litle_} by Carlo Dulci.’

Dolci was one of the principal artists patronised by John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700) whilst on the Grand Tour.

He was active mainly in his native Florence, where he was known for his highly finished religious paintings.

Test samples taken from this exquisite little painting during restoration in the 1990’s, revealed that Dolci used ground gold leaf in his paint to achieve richness and luminosity around his figures.


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