This is one of the finest and most beautiful of numerous small paintings of the Holy Family which Schedoni painted in the last years of his life when he was in the service of Ranuccio I Farnese in Parma.

Schedoni trained in Rome with Federico Zuccaro but worked chiefly in Modena and Parma. He is best known for his small, refined devotional works. Correggio and Parmigianino were his chief influences, but he also admired the Carracci who worked in nearby Bologna. The close-knit composition, the golden light and the natural gestures of the figures create a powerful sense of human intimacy and show the influence of Correggio. According to an inscription on the reverse, the painting belonged to Schedoni's wife.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
1578 - 1615
Full title
The Holy Family with the Virgin teaching the Child to Read
Date made
about 1613-15
Medium and support
Oil on wood
Dimensions
33.6 x 28.2 cm
Acquisition credit
Presented by the Trustees of Sir Denis Mahon's Charitable Trust through the Art Fund, 2013
Inventory number
NG6644
Location in Gallery