Prints and Drawings
Artist: Francesco Vanni, Italian, 1564–1610

Study for the Virgin and Child with Saints Cecilia and Agnes

ca. 1605

Oil on canvas

21.8 x 14.5 (8 5/8 x 5 3/4 in.)
Frederick M. Clapp, B.A. 1901, M.A. 1911, Fund
This small bozzetto (oil sketch), in subtly differentiated shades of brown, depicts the Virgin holding the Child, who leans over to place a wreath of flowers on the head of Saint Cecilia, kneeling on the left and looking modestly downward. Kneeling on the right, symmetrically, is Saint Agnes, holding the palm of martyrdom and a lamb—her name is similar to agnus, “lamb” in Latin, so the lamb became one of her attributes—looking upward toward the Virgin and Child. The simple pyramidal composition is framed by a sort of baldachin and a curtain, implying a revelatory status for the figures. This remarkably well-preserved bozzetto is a study for a painting Francesco Vanni executed for his patron Paolo Emilio Sfondrato, the titular cardinal of the church of Saint Cecilia in Trastevere, in Rome, and a devotee of Saint Agnes.
16th century
On view

Enzo Carli (1910-1999); his heirs; the present owner


John J. Marciari et al., Francesco Vanni: Art in Late Renaissance Siena, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2013), 202–4, no. 74.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.