Saint Philip Benizi Converting Two Wicked Women at the City of Todi

Bernardino Poccetti Italian

Not on view

This drawing is a study for one of the lunettes frescoed around 1606 by Bernardino Poccetti in the ‘Chiostro dei Morti’ at the Santissima Annunziata, Florence. The fresco forms part of a series of twenty five similarly shaped frescoes in the large cloister. 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 (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. 61.178.2 (Death of Saint Alexis Falconieri), 80.3.320 (Figure Studies), and 200.91.1 (Seated Figure and Sanding Figure).

The Museum's drawing records an early stage of Poccetti's plans for this fresco: here Saint Philip Benizi faces the two women of loose life who appear at the right corner of the lunette. In the fresco the grouping is reversed, and the two women stand at the center of the composition; this solution is already indicated in the other surviving composition studies for the fresco, one of which is in the Musée Fabre, Montpellier, while the other is in the Albertina, Vienna. The drawing in the Metropolitan Museum is a study, with considerable variants, for the fresco which is second from the left as one faces the wall of the nave. Below the fresco is the following inscription: 'IL BEATO FILIPPO BENIZI FIORENTINO PREDETTA IN FIRENZI LA SUA VICINA MORTE CHE TOSTO GLI SEGUI A TODI CITTA DELL'UMBRIA DOVE/CONGRANDE APPLAUSO ERA ASPETTATO RIDUSSE CON LE SUE ESORTAZIONI ET ELEMOSINE DUE CATTIVE DONNE A RELIGIOSA VITA L'ANNO MCCLXXXV.'

Saint Philip Benizi Converting Two Wicked Women at the City of Todi, Bernardino Poccetti (Italian, San Marino di Valdelsa 1548–1612 Florence), Brush and gray wash, highlighted with white gouache, on brownish paper

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