Salvator Mundi, ca. 1622–23
Domenico Fetti (Italian, 1591/92–1623)
Oil on wood; 23 1/2 x 17 1/4 in. (59.7 x 43.8 cm)
Gift of Dianne Modestini, in loving memory of Mario Modestini, 2007 (2007.91)
A consummate master of loose brushwork, Fetti can be an artist of astonishing originality, as this late work testifies. Christ is shown seated in clouds above a landscape, his left hand on an orb, his right raised in blessing, as he gazes toward the viewer. The scampish cherubs—especially the one peeking out from beneath the blue cloak—and the illusionistic character of the composition are an homage of sorts to the work of the great sixteenth-century painter Correggio.
The picture was painted in Venice between 1622 and 1623 for Count Francesco Gambara of Brescia. (Fetti had moved to Venice following a fight with a fellow artist; between 1614 and 1622 he had worked for the Gonzaga court in Mantua.) It was later in the collection of Bishop Paolo Coccapani; a copy is in the Galleria Todini, Lovere, north of Brescia.