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In the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen at Windsor Castle

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-64)

The Virgin and Child with Saints Catherine and Mary Magdalene c. 1655-60

Red-brown oil paint on paper | 35.8 x 44.7 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 904035

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A drawing of the Virgin seated with the Child supported in her lap, St Mary Magdalene kneeling next to them, and St Catherine of Alexandria kneeling in the foreground on the right. An angel on the left holds up one side of the Virgin's mantle. The uncomfortable poses of the angel and St Catherine and the staccato handling of the oil paint indicate that this is a late work. Castiglione seems to have been primarily concerned with establishing a rhythm of lights and darks across the surface of the paper. In the densest areas the brushstrokes have coalesced into solid patches of paint, and the resulting bleed-through of oil can be seen on the reverse of the sheet, exposed on the other side of the plinth.