Saint Margaret of Cortona

Gaspare Traversi Italian

Not on view

Traversi is known for bawdy scenes of contemporary Italian life; however, here he presents the key elements in the biography of Margaret of Cortona, a thirteenth‑century nun canonized during his childhood. She is known for running away with a lover as a young woman and bearing a child out of wedlock. When her lover’s dog returned home without him, she discovered his brutal murder and adopted a life of charity and penitence. Here, that very child and the dog appear in the foreground while Satan, meant to symbolize her former life that the church deemed sinful, withdraws defeated into hell.

Saint Margaret of Cortona, Gaspare Traversi (Italian, Neapolitan, ca. 1722–1770), Oil on canvas

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