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I had a request from an American woman to research the provenance of a painting that was bought by her Aunt in Rome in 1871 for their Washington DC home, with the story from a Vatican Monsignor that it was the original 1514 painting on canvas by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino for Leonello Pio da Carpi.

The research became my life pursuit.

The Capodimonte Museum in Naples exhibited the same subject of a Sacred Family called “The Madonna of Divine Love” on wood painted in 1518 for the Farnese Collection and is attributed to Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino.

Since the late eighteenth century, many Art Historians have attributed the painting in Naples, to Gianfrancesco Penni, Raffaello’s pupil.

Which one is the original painting by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino?

Madonna of Divine Love by Raffaello explores my research into the provenance of this mysterious painting.

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About The Book

Madonna of Divine Love by Raffaello is now available for purchase.

Front cover of Madonna of Divine Love by Raffaello
Back cover of Madonna of Divine Love by Raffaello

April 6, 2020 marks 500 years since the death of Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino. When he died at only 37 years old, he left the most beautiful paintings, particularly many of the Madonna and Child. One particular painting on canvas by Raffaello, for Leonello Pio da Carpi, but since then it was never seen again.

The Capodimonte Museum in Naples describes the 1518 painting on wood as the “Madonna of Divine Love” by Raffaello, but since the eighteen century many art historians believe that the painting on wood is by GianFranceso Penni, Raffaello’s pupil, so where is the original painting by Raffaello?

This painting was not mentioned for almost five-hundred years. Where was it? Elma believed she had an original Raffaello painting, and she wanted to know whether the story told by her aunt Anna was correct.

Carla Nicole De Petris fell in love with this painting, and the story fascinated her. This story follows the history of the painting and the story of the research.

About The Paintings in Question

Since the late eighteen-hundreds, the Art Historians have debated if the 1518 painting on wood, in the Farnese Collection called “The Madonna of Divine Love” exhibited in the Museum of Capodimonte, Naples, attributed to Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, is instead painted by Raffaello’s pupil, Gian Francesco Penni.

Left: 1) painting on wood / Right: 2) painting on canvas

The painting on the left was painted on wood in 1518 for Pope Paul III, Farnese collection and in 1731 the collection was brought to Naples and the painting is registered as the Madonna of Divine Love by Raffaello in the catalog of the Capodimonte Museum.

Since 1850 many Art Historians believe that this painting is by Raffaello’s pupil Gianfrancesco Penni, but in 2015 the Museum still attributed it to Raffaello.

The painting on the right is a painting bought in 1871 in Rome by an American Lady with the story by Monsignor Nardi at the Vatican that it was the 1514 original painting on canvas by Raffaello for Signor Leonello Pio da Carpi. Than it was in the collection of Taddeo Barberini and at his death, in 1647, his wife Anna Colonna Barberini entered the convent and pursued to build the  Monastery where she brought this painting. In 1861 during the Unification of Italy the State sequestered the Monastery, that became a prison, and the painting was sold to the American Lady and it remain in the same family for more than one hundred years. In 1982 I had the request to research the history and find the answer if it was painted by Raffaello.

“My research is about the history of five important Dynasties of the 1500-1600 as the Pio da Carpi, Falco Pio di Savoia, Farnese and Barberini and to find the record of a 1514 original painting on canvas attributed to Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino originally painted for Leonello Pio da Carpi with dubious historical records after 1564.

The story is, also, how I found the painting and how it was authenticated as an original Raffaello.” ~Carla Nicole De Petris

It has been my quest to bring the attention to the art-interested public the story that was told by a Monsignor Nardi of the Vatican City to an American woman and show the similarity and the differences of the two paintings. The purpose to tell this story is to know what the public’s opinion will be.

Resources & Links

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Author Bio

Carla Nicole De Petris

Northern California based writer and art aficionado, Carla Nicole De Petris was born in Torino, Italy and graduated from the University of Torino with a degree in Business with a focus on art history & architecture. She has been studying and collecting High and Low Renaissance European Artists from the 14th Century to the 18th Century for many years. When she moved to California she also began collecting 19th and 20th-century contemporary art.

Her love of art is not limited to collecting however and she has pursued creating in mediums such as oil, pastel, pen and ink, pencil, lithograph and photography. She has studied at the prestigious Otis College of Art & Design, Sonoma State University and the College of Marin. She has also pursued her interests in history, art, political science, religions, American Jazz music, California architecture. The latter with the University of California extension in San Francisco.

Over the years she has dedicated her time and energy as a Board Member and Officer of several non-profit organizations including Historic Preservation, Landmark, Sister’s Cities, two stores to raise funds for Catholic schools, Red and White ball to raise funds for city projects, the Sonoma Film Festival and was a member of the Sonoma Architectural Commission.

In 1980 she founded Nicole Collection Art Gallery in Laguna Beach, California. Her company Italcork Corporation imported cork from Sardenga, Italy and pioneered a method of fire branding wine corks for use by wineries all over North America. She has traveled over seventy countries and five continents. Her other interests include breeding and showing Arabian Horses.

Her research into the provenance of the painting called The Madonna of Divine Love found her traveling to Carpi, Rome, Milano, Firenze, & Naples, Italy as well as St. Petersburg, Russia. Her research included visits to Museums, State offices, The Vatican Secret Library, private collections and city libraries. She had close communications with many academics and art historians.

At one time, she had more than six hundred works of international art and oriental rugs for which she did research on each of the artists. She researched for private collections on Lotto, Van Gough, Raffaello, Rembrandt, and catalogued the collection of Kenneth Steven McIntire 1891-1979.

Carla also conducted research of the architecture and the history of ownership of Sonoma County from 1840 to 1940 as a project for the League for Historic Preservation for Sonoma City and Sonoma County.  In 2019 this work earned her the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation’s Margaret Eliassen Award as well as a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition.

2002 Women and Industry “Award for Innovation” from the County of Sonoma Commission on the status of Women

2002 Women and Industry Award recipient nominated by Italcork, Inc.

2019 Award from the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation’s Margaret Eliassen Award – Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition

Associations & Memberships:

  • A lifetime member of the National Register of Who is Who in the West, Who is Who in American Women, and Who is Who in the World
  • Board Member in the Golden Gate Collectors Guild
  • The Metropolitan Club of San Francisco
  • Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
  • The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Rotary Club
  • The Authors Guild
  • Sonoma Historical Society
  • Board Member of the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation
  • Amazon Author Page
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To get in touch with Carla Nicole De Petris by email, please use the form below. You can also connect to her Facebook Page or LinkedIn profile.