possibly Lodovico Fiumicelli, The Visitation

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All Rights Reserved)


Country House
Mells Manor
The Visitation
Medium and support
Oil on wood
Overall height: 23 cm, Overall width: 29 cm
possibly Lodovico Fiumicelli (c.1500-1582)
Catalogue Number


It is unclear whether this is a fragment of a full-length composition or whether the present format is original. If the former it might have been part of a narrative cycle of scenes from the life of the Virgin, although the present writer can think of no comparable works. If the latter, its dimensions would allow the possibility that it might have been part of a narrative predella, with other episodes from the Virgin’s life but, again, this writer can think of no example of a predella composed of a series of close-ups. It might have been placed elsewhere on a complex (and retardataire) polyptych but a plausible location for it may be identified only by chance.

The name of Jacopo Palma il Vecchio seems to have become attached to this panel at some point but, although it is not clear how or why, the amplitude of the female forms and their facial types do recall some aspects of Palma’s work. But the modelling lacks Palma’s firm structure and the colour range is unlike his. The present writer wondered whether this Visitation might be an early work by Bonifacio, who sometimes came quite close to Palma, and asked Professor Peter Humfrey if this might be a possibility. He thought not but showed an image to Professor Mauro Lucco who suggested the possible authorship of Lodivico Fiumicelli.1 Given Professor Lucco’s unequalled knowledge of the painting of the Veneto, his suggestion is one to be taken seriously: if it is by Fiumicelli it would, presumably, be an early work.

by Paul Joannides


Oliver Garnett, 'The Letters and Collection of William Graham: Pre-Raphaelite Patron and Pre-Raphael Collector', The Walpole Society, vol. 62, 2000, d343, p. 337, as Venetian School, 16th century, previously attributed to Moretto da Brescia (WG inventory 379: £20/sale 214, bought Colnaghi £25 4s)


  1. Professor Peter Humfrey, private communication, 2020.


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