The death of Saint Alexis Falconieri at Monte Senario

Bernardino Poccetti Italian

Not on view

This drawing depicting the ‘Death of Alexis Falconieri at Monte Senario’ is a study for one of the lunettes frescoed around 1606 by Bernardino Poccetti in the ‘Chiostro dei Morti’ (Cloister of the Dead) at the Santissima Annunziata, Florence. The fresco forms part of a series of twenty five similarly shaped frescoes in the large cloister called the "Chiostri dei Morti". The frescoes deal with the lives and deaths of the Servite monks. Only thirteen of the frescoes were painted by Poccetti. Others in the series were by Matteo Rosselli (1578-1650), Fra Arsenio Mascagni (Donato Mascagni, 1579-1636) and by Ventura Salimbeni (1568-1613).
The Metropolitan Museum owns a total of four drawings by Poccetti which are studies for the important frescoes in the Annunziata: see inv. nos. 80.3.320 (Figure Studies), 64.48.1 (Saint Philip Benizi Converting two Women at Todi) and 200.91.1 (Seated Figure and Sanding Figure).
The lunette-shaped fresco - for which the Met drawing is a study - is the last one on the right wall of the Florentine cloister. Below the painting is the following inscription: "IL BEATO ALESSO FALCONIERI L'ULTIMO AMANCARE DE SERVI L'ANNO CX DI SUA ETA INVITATO DA GESU BENEDETTO AL PARADISO SENE MUORE SANTAMENTE IN MONTE SENARIO L'ANNO MCCC X."

As discussed by Paul Hamilton and Jacob Bean, the Museum’s sheet relates with a drawing made in red chalk study for the figure of the dying saint lying on the ground (Collection Frits Lugt, Paris inv. T.4546) and with other studies for the same composition now in the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Florence: a study for the two men and horses in the lower right corner, in pen, black ink, and blue-gray wash (inv. no. 1686 S); a red chalk study for the kneeling man at the left (also with a slight sketch of the dead Falconieri, inv. no. 8371 F,); three red chalk studies for other monks in the composition (or for a related fresco: inv. nos. 8645 F r-v and 8646F); a study for a standing monk with his head bowed, possibly related to the center figure in our drawing; a variation of the kneeling monk looking up at the right (inv. 8736 S); a red chalk drawing for the standing man at the extreme right holding his robe in the left hand (inv. no. 817 F). A further sheet in the Uffizi (inv. no. 851 F) is a drawing very similar to ours in technique, measuring (27x39 cm), and is a study for another fresco in the series, ‘The deaths of the Blessed Uguccione and the Blessed Sostegno.’ A composition study for another of the lunettes ‘Death of the Blessed Filippo Buonagiunta Manetti,’ is in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (see K.T. Parker, ‘Catalogue of the Collection of Drawings in the Ashmolean Museum,’ Oxford 1956, vol. II, Italian schools, no. 471, pl. CX, ill.). This drawing is not listed in the catalogue of the posthumous sale of a part of the Lagoy collection (see: "Catalogue de dessins anciens et originaux de toutes les écoles provenant du cabinet de feu M. le Marquis de Lagoy, " 17-19 April, 1834.)

The death of Saint Alexis Falconieri at Monte Senario, Bernardino Poccetti (Italian, San Marino di Valdelsa 1548–1612 Florence), Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, highlighted with white, over red chalk and some charcoal

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