VINCENZO D’ONOFRIO DA IMOLA
Imola, presumably active during the second half of the 16th century
Holy Family with the Infant St. John and a martyr saint
oil on panel, 67×54 cm
The prototype of this composition, known in various versions with slight variations, was identified some years ago by Anna Tambini. It is a matter of an invention by Innocenzo Francucci da Imola (1490 c.-1550 c.) – an important Raphaelesque painter who chiefly worked in his native Romagna but who also had spent periods in Florence – which is known in a number of versions, among which the Madonna with Child and the saints Infant St. John, Francis and Clare at the Pinacoteca Nazionale of Bologna, which may be dated to the third or fourth decade of the Sixteenth century.
The three works which have been linked by the scholar, and which like the present work are characterized by being arranged mirrorwise with respect to Innocenzo’s prototype as well as by a “more personal interpretation” and the “atmosphere of family life”, all show Christ giving the Infant St. John a cherry. Anna Tambini has hypothetically suggested that two of these paintings, of which composition is inspired by Francucci’s work, may be attributed to Vincenzo d’Onofrio da Imola, a mysterious painter who has been indicated as the author of one of these works, and for which the scholar has suggested a documentary identification (see A. Tambini, Spigolature sulla pittura di Imola tra Quattro e Cinquecento, in “Studi romagnoli”, LIII, 2002, pp. 41-72, pp. 53-54).