The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of May 27, 2024

Sleeping Christ Child

Sleeping Christ Child

c. 1675
(Italian, 1630–1702)
63 x 102 x 42 cm (24 13/16 x 40 3/16 x 16 9/16 in.)

Did You Know?

Tender images of the Christ child sleeping encouraged devout Christians to meditate on Christ’s humanity.


Christ—no longer an infant, but a young child—sprawls on a bed of straw, his head thrown back in slumber and his right arm dangling. The simple radiance framing his head indicates his divinity. Representations of the sleeping Christ child were enduringly popular, not only because of the subject’s inherent charm, but sleep, as a metaphor for death, encouraged pious Christians to meditate on Christ’s humanity and his eventual suffering and death. Filippo Parodi’s Sleeping Christ Child beguiles with lifelike detail. Parodi used varying degrees of polish to differentiate surface textures: Christ’s body is burnished to a soft gleam, while his hair and the straw are more roughly carved, absorbing rather than reflecting the light. Parodi exploited the sensuous and tactile possibilities of the marble to enhance the emotional impact of his piece, a tactic learned from the master of Italian Baroque sculpture, Gianlorenzo Bernini.
  • c. 1675
    Likely commissioned by Giovanni Luca Durazzo [1628–1679] around 1675, for the Palazzo Balbi Durazzo (now Palazzo Reale), Genoa
    by 1769
    By descent to his grandson, Marcello Durazzo [1710–1791], Palazzo Balbi Durazzo, Genoa
    by 1837
    Marquis Gerolamo Serra [1761–1837], Genoa
    Purchased by Vicomte Hippolyte Vilain XIIII, December 25, 1844, for 800 “Lira di Francia”
    Dec., 1844
    Charles Hippolyte Vilain XIIII [1796–1873]
    Private collection, Belgium, and by descent
    Artcurial, Paris. Mobilier et objets d'art. May 16, 2017. Lot 158
    (Danny Katz, Ltd., London, UK, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Soprani, Raffaele, and Carlo Giuseppe Ratti. Vite de' pittori, scultori, ed architetti genovesi. 2 vols. Genova: Nella stamperia Casamara, 1768-69. Mentioned: vol. 2, p. 58
    Palais du Duc de Brabant, Brussels. Exposition de tableaux et d'objets d'art et de haute curiosité ouverte au profit des pauvres, seconde partie: objets d'art. Brussels: G. Stapleaux, 1855. Mentioned: p. 20, no. 118
    Rotondi Briasco, Paola. Filippo Parodi. Genova: Istituto di Storia dell'Arte, Università, 1962. Mentioned: p. 103
    Milano, Carlo. In Da Tintoretto a Rubens. Capolavori della Collezione Durazzo, 310-311. Luca Leoncini et al. Exh. Cat. Genoa: Palazzo Reale, Genoa, in association with Milan: Skira, 2004. Mentioned and reproduced: pp. 310-311, no. 53
    Mariangela Bruno and Daniele Sanguinetti, “Filippo Parodi,” Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, vol. 81 (2014) n.p.
    Artcurial, Paris. Mobilier et objets d'art. May 16, 2017. Lot 158 Mentioned and reproduced: pp. 86-88
    Pave-Mazzi, Olivier. "Une Sculpture De Parodi Pour Le Cleveland Museum of Art." L'Object D'Art, 553 (2019): 21 Reproduced and mentioned; p.21
    Griswold, William M. “From the Director.” Cleveland Art: Cleveland Museum of Art Members Magazine vol. 59, no. 2 (March/April 2019): 3. Reproduced: P. 3.
    Wieseman, Marjorie E. “Acquisitions 2018: European Paintings and Sculpture, 1500-1800.” Cleveland Art: Cleveland Museum of Art Members Magazine vol. 59, no. 2 (March/April 2019): 14-15. Reproduced: P. 14; Mentioned: P. 15.
    "Apollo awards 2019 acquisition of the year: shortlist." Apollo: A Journal of the Arts 190, no. 681 (December 2019):62. reproduced: p. 62
    Griswold, William M. “Recent Acquisitions (2013-20) at the Cleveland Museum of Art.” Burlington Magazine 163, no. 1414 (January 2021): 93-104. Mentioned and reproduced: P. 95, no. 4; mentioned: P. 93
  • {{cite web|title=Sleeping Christ Child|url=false|author=Filippo Parodi|year=c. 1675|access-date=27 May 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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