Domenico Beccafumi (Italian, Cortine in Valdibiana Montaperti 1484–1551 Siena), Holy Family, 1540–1549. Oil on panel, 22 3/4 × 18 1/8 in. (57.8 × 46 cm) Framed: 30 in. × 26 1/2 in. × 2 1/2 in. (76.2 × 67.3 × 6.3 cm). Princeton University Art Museum. Museum purchase, John Maclean Magie, Class of 1892, and Gertrude Magie Fund © Princeton University Art Gallery, Princeton, New Jersey

This Holy Family, which includes the figure of Saint Michael, was painted late in the artist’s career. It stands alongside a number of other devotional works by Beccafumi that exhibit a comparable freedom of touch and avoid a high level of finish, suggesting that these effects were intentional and repeated. This panel belonged to Duke Cosimo I and then to the Order of Santo Stefano that he founded in Pisa in 1560, an indication that early collectors were open to the more experimental approach visible here. 

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