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The Artistic Heritage of Modena: At the Origin of the Galleria Estense


Saint Francis

Federico Barocci (Italian, Urbino ca. 1535–1612 Urbino)

ca. 1600–1604
Oil on canvas
35 3/8 x 30 7/8 in. (89.9 x 78.4 cm); with added strips 35 7/8 x 31 3/8 in. (91.1 x 79.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift and 2002 Benefit Fund, 2003
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    Barocci is a key figure in Italian painting. He was a slow and meticulous worker, and produced few pictures. His work, with its compositional refinement, its warm humanity, and deep expressivity, laid the groundwork for Baroque art. This canvas is conceived as a meditation on Saint Francis of Assisi (1181/82-1226), who is shown in a grotto on Mount La Verna, where he received the stigmata (depicted as protruding nails, in conformity with early Franciscan sources). Barocci was close to the Capuchin order, and this deeply felt work must have been intended for a Capuchin friar or for a supporter of the Franciscan order.

  • Catalogue Entry


  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscribed (in breviary) with a Latin prayer and the Pater Noster

  • Provenance

    Francesco Santangelo, Palazzo Carafa di Maddaloni, Naples (by 1815–d. 1836); his son, Nicola Santangelo, Palazzo Carafa di Maddaloni (1836–47); his brother, Michele Santangelo, Palazzo Carafa di Maddaloni, and Villa dei Santangelo, Pollena (1847–d. 1876); Santangelo family, Pollena (1876–?early 1900s; cat., 1876, no. 4, as by Barocci); [Arthur Costantini, London, by early 1970s–early 1980s; sold to Tazzoli]; Mario Tazzoli, London (from early 1980s); by descent to a private collector (until 2003; sold through Marco Grassi to MMA)

  • Exhibition History

    Saint Louis Art Museum. "Federico Barocci: Renaissance Master of Color and Line," October 21, 2012–January 20, 2013, no. 17.

  • References

    Domenico Romanelli. Napoli antica e moderna. Naples, 1815, vol. 3, p. 93, as in the collection of the lawyer D. Francesco Santa[n]gelo, new owner of the Palazzo Colombrano.

    Carlo Celano. Notizie del bello, dell'antico e del curioso della città di Napoli. 3, Naples, 1858, p. 690, lists it in the palazzo of the marchese Santangelo.

    Catalogo della pinacoteca dei marchesi Santangelo di Napoli. Naples, 1876, pp. 4–5, no. 4, notes that there is an engraving of the work by Tommaso Aloysio Juvara.

    Keith Christiansen in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2002–2003." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 61 (Fall 2003), p. 19, ill. (color), dates it about 1600–1605 and notes that it must have been painted for either a Capuchin friar or a supporter of the Franciscan order.

    Carol Vogel. "Inside Art." New York Times (June 13, 2003), p. E33, ill., dates it about 1600–1605.

    Keith Christiansen. "Barocci, the Franciscans and a Possible Funerary Gift." Burlington Magazine 147 (November 2005), pp. 723–28, fig. 3 (color), and ill. on cover (color), dates it about 1600–1604; notes that the individualized features of the figure suggest it may be a portrait; discusses numerous alterations made in the course of painting and the influence of the text "The Little Flowers of Saint Francis"; proposes that the MMA and Chantilly paintings may be related to Barocci's plans for his death and burial, the former possibly intended as a gift for Antonio Tinti da Mondavio, prior of the convent of San Francesco in Urbino, where Barocci is buried, and the latter meant as the altarpiece for his funerary chapel.

    Keith Christiansen. "Going for Baroque: Bringing 17th-Century Masters to the Met." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 62 (Winter 2005), pp. 25–26, fig. 21 (color).

    Ian Verstegen. "Barocci, Cartoons, and the Workshop: A Mechanical Means for Satisfying Demand." Notizie da Palazzo Albani 34–35 (2005–6), p. 119, figs. 11b, 11c, lists it as an example of "works not derived directly from cartoons," which he feels "have a good chance at being completely autograph," noting that "examination . . . has revealed a very refined painting technique".

    Andrea Emiliani. Federico Barocci (Urbino, 1535–1612). Ancona, 2008, vol. 1, pp. 222–24, no. 25, ill. (color), argues for an earlier dating, relating the figure of Saint Francis to that in the artist's "Il Perdono di Assisi" ("The Vision of Saint Francis"; S. Francesco, Urbino) of the 1570s.

    John Marciari and Ian Verstegen. "'Grande quanto l'opera': Size and Scale in Barocci's Drawings." Master Drawings 46 (Autumn 2008), pp. 312, 319 nn. 73, 75, state that the figure of Saint Francis is four-thirds the size of the relevant figure in the painting in Chantilly [see Notes].

    Anna Maria Ambrosini Massari in Federico Barocci, 1535–1612: l'incanto del colore, una lezione per due secoli. Exh. cat., Santa Maria della Scala, Siena. Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, 2009, pp. 127, 392.

    Peter Gillgren. Siting Federico Barocci and the Renaissance Aesthetic. Farnham, England, 2011, pp. 216–18, fig. 21.4, calls it a response to Annibale Carracci's version of the subject of about 1586 (Galleria Corsini, Rome).

    Claire Barry in Federico Barocci: Renaissance Master of Color and Line. Exh. cat., Saint Louis Art Museum. St. Louis, 2012, p. 336 nn. 10, 50.

    Babette Bohn in Federico Barocci: Renaissance Master of Color and Line. Exh. cat., Saint Louis Art Museum. St. Louis, 2012, p. 63.

    Judith W. Mann in Federico Barocci: Renaissance Master of Color and Line. Exh. cat., Saint Louis Art Museum. St. Louis, 2012, pp. 20, 22, 282–87, 340, no. 17, ill. (color), dates it about 1604–6; calls the Würzburg drawing the earliest surviving sketch for the figure in the Chantilly altarpiece and the Pesaro drawing a transitional study between the altarpiece and the MMA painting; identifies a chalk drawing in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, as a study for the head of Saint Francis; proposes that the position of Christ's feet—with the left on top of the right—is based on the description given in Saint Bridget's "Revelations", first published in 1492 and in Italian in 1556.

  • Notes

    This painting is closely related to Barocci's unfinished altarpiece of "Christ Taking Leave of His Mother" (Musée Condé, Chantilly; 217 x 191 cm), which includes a figure of Saint Francis on the right side. Chalk drawings for the figure of Saint Francis, squared for transfer, are in the Martin von Wagner Museum der Universität Würzburg (inv. Hz 7177; 40 x 25.5 cm) and the Biblioteca Oliveriana, Pesaro (27.5 x 17.7 cm).

    Another version of this composition (oil on canvas, 90.5 x 75.5 cm; inv. no. 835.4), attributed to Barocci, is in the Musée d'Art Thomas-Henry, Cherbourg.

  • See also
    In the Museum