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Perino del Vaga (Pietro Buonaccorsi) (Italian, Florence 1501–1547 Rome), Holy Family with Saint John the Baptist, 1528–1530. Oil on panel, 41 15/16 × 30 9/16 in. (106.6 × 77.6 cm) Framed: 55 1/16 × 43 3/4 in. (139.8 × 111.2 cm)© The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London. Purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund, 1932.

Perino del Vaga, one of the most innovative painters to emerge from Raphael’s workshop, rarely painted independent devotional works, and each one was the outcome of careful planning. This panel, interrupted for unknown reasons well before its completion, is one of the most fascinating examples of a work in progress to survive from the Renaissance. Wonderful freehand drawing in various media can be seen on the surface; in particular, in the area of St. Joseph’s head, there is a scene of a landscape with running figures. The biographer Giorgio Vasari mentioned that Perino painted a Nostra Donna for a friend in Florence that was left "almost more than half finished," and it is sometimes thought that this painting could be identified as that work.

This work is exhibited in the “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Invisible” exhibition, on view through September 4th, 2016. #MetBreuer