Enthroned Virgin and Child surrounded by Gaspare Diziani Saints by


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Gaspare Diziani

Belluno, 1689 – Venice, 1767

Enthroned Virgin and Child surrounded by Saints

Oil on canvas.

517 x 298 mm – 20 3/8 x 11 3/4 in.

Provenance – Londres, Christie’s, 4 May 2012, lot 175 ; Vienna, Dorotheum, 17 October 2012, lot 833 ; European private collection ; Paris, sale Artcurial, 9 june 2021, n° 22.



Originally from Belluno, Gaspare Diziani studied in Venice with Gregorio Lazzarini and Sebastiano Ricci. In the 1710s and the 1720s, he executed numerous paintings and frescoes for Venetian churches. In 1717, he stayed in Allemagne, in Munich and Dresden, where he worked as a scenery painter. In 1726-27, he travelled to Rome under the patronage of cardinal Ottoboni and painted in 1726, the now lost wall decor of San Lorenzo in Damaso. In 1720, he is registered in the corporation of Venetian painters. As from 1728, he definitively stayed in Venice, at the exception of short sojourns in Belluno, Treviso and Padova. His religious and profane production is remarkably abundant: altarpieces, altar paintings, frescos and bozzetti. In 1755, he is one of the founders of the Painting Academy, and was its president in 1760 and 1766.   During all his career, Gaspare Diziani remained faithful to the influence of Sebastiano Ricci, which he tainted with hints of Giambattista Tiepolo’s and Gian Antonio Pellegrini’s style.


Pr. Ugo Ruggeri[1] suggested that this oil on canvas, representing the Virgin and child on a throne, surrounded by the saints Joseph and Rocco (with his dog) on the left and, on the right, by saints Sebastien, Georges and maybe Ambrose, was probably a modello for a larger lost or still unidentified painting. This bozzetto may have been ordered privately for the altar of a private chapel or oratory; the man dressed in black painted behind saint Joseph, hands joint in prayer, could be the patron.


Fig. 1 The Virgin of the Rosary with Saints Joseph and Nicholas San Vito al Tagliamento, Cathedral

The disposition of the figures, the Virgin and Child, seated higher, in glory, at the foot of a column, and the saints placed lower, derives in reverse from a model created by Titian in 1526, Madonna di Ca’ Pesaro in the Frari basilica in Venice.  The luxurious canopy beneath the Virgin’s throne, the precious rendering of fabrics and bright colors are typical of Diziani.  The composition shows many similarities with other altar paintings such as The Virgin with rosary surrounded by saints in the Duomo of San Vital al Tagliamento[2] (fig. 1) and the Circumcision in Sant’ Ambrogio à Sambruson[3] (fig. 2). In the present painting, the liveliness of the brush and the artist’s taste for light effects demonstrate the influence of his master Sebastiano Ricci. This work can be dated from Diziani’s maturity, at a time when he executed numerous bright sketches meant for the art market.


Fig. 2 The Circumcision Sambruson, Church of Sant’ Ambrogio

Condition report – the canvas has been relined in the past and an additional strip of paper of about 1 cm has been applied along the edges.

Examination under U.V. light: the varnish turned yellow. Some retouching, lower right, at the base of the two sticks, on the lower edge.



[1] Certificate of authenticity written by the Prof. Ugo Ruggeri in 2011.

[2] The Virgin of the Rosary with Saints Joseph and Nicholas. Oil on canvas. H. 270 cm ; L. 130 cm. Around 1740. Cathedral of San Vito al Tagliamento (cf. Anna Paola Zugni-Tauro, Gaspare Diziani, Venezia, 1971, p. 84, ill. 34).

[3] The Circumcision  Oil on canvas ; H. 270 cm ; L. 130 cm. Around 1760-1763. Sambruson, Church of Sant’ Ambrogio (cf. A. P. Zugni-Tugno, op. cit, p. 84, ill. 274)