Oil on canvas, 127cm by 97cm.
The 1738 Burghley Inventory records: ‘The Virgin Mary and Our Saviour; he lying upon a Pillow & Sheet, the Virgin Mary just taking a fine Gauze off him, 4 Boys looking at him, by Carlo Morat, 1 3/8 yd long, 1 yd 2 Inches wide.’
Maratta was active mainly in Rome; initially as an apprentice in the studio of Andrea Sacchi (1599-1661), an artist with whom he enjoyed a close relationship and whose classicism strongly influenced his work.
By 1680 Maratta was the leading artist in Rome.
He enjoyed the patronage of wealthy European travellers, amongst them John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700), who bought several of his paintings.
He was also a well known portrait painter and many of his sitters were English Grand Tourists, including the 5th Earl, although this portrait is sadly now lost.