Pietro Carloni was a painter and draughtman, active in Florence 1810-20 and specialised in miniature portraits.
He was also a follower of the famous Baroque painter Carlo Dolci (1616-86), who was active in Florence, and known for his highly finished religious pictures, which were often repeated in many versions. The present work being based on one of Dolci’s penitent Magdalene which adorned the chapels of Florence, and commissioned by a wealthy patron visiting Florence on the Grand Tour. Little is known about this talented artist’s life, and his work rarely comes to market. His patrons included royalty, and the very high quality of this Madonna separates his work from the many lesser Florentine copyists of the time.
The life of Sir Walter Scott by John Macrone mentions the Genealogist Sir Agerton Brydges (1762- 1837) sat for his portrait to the Florentine miniaturist Pietro Carloni in 1819 while on a tour of Italy, and was considered favourable enough to be engraved. This engraving by Giovan Battista Nocchi is held at the British Museum. The original miniature appeared with both an engraving and print at auction in Barcelona in 2015.
The Rijksmuseum holds an engraving dated 1820 of a portrait after Pietro Carloni, of Baron Bartolomeo Bergami, the alleged Italian lover of Caroline, wife of George IV. In 1814 Carloni travelled to Vienna during the congress and painted a miniature of the Austrian Kaiser Franz 1 (1768-1835).
Gallery note: Carloni’s skill as a miniaturist painter is evident in his eye for detail in our Magdalene, now conserved with a new support canvas, and professionally restored to museum standards. Presented in the original carved Florentine frame, re-gilded.