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Saint Lawrence

Bartolomeo Cesi (Italian, Bologna 1556–1629 Bologna)
Pen and brown ink and wash, with squaring in black chalk
11 3/16 x 7 3/16in. (28.4 x 18.2cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Charles and Jessie Price Gift, 2000
Accession Number:
Not on view
Cesi was an artist devoted to the Counter-Reformation belief, expressed most forcibly in the 1582 treatise of the Bolognese Cardinal Gabriele Paleotti, that the proper function of painting was the clear communication of a religious message. Like the Carracci brothers, Cesi reacted against the complexity and artificiality of much sixteenth-century painting and returned to the study of nature, beginning each work with careful drawings from the model and abstracting from these to create an ideal form. In his late works, however, such as this modello for an altarpiece of 1619, Cesi strove for an increasingly severe geometry and reductive purity that were far removed from the dramatic action and externalization of emotion characteristic of the Carracci.
Compagnie des Beaux-Arts Ltd.; Vendor: Compagnie des Beaux-Arts Ltd.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 22, 2002–July 14, 2002.

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