The Dormition of the Virgin

Carlo Saraceni Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 620

In 1601, Caravaggio was commissioned to paint an altarpiece representing the Dormition of the Virgin for the Church of Santa Maria della Scala, in Rome. The Carmelite order rejected it, however, for a perceived lack of decorum, and it is today in the Musée du Louvre, Paris. About 1608 Saraceni, a Venetian influenced by Caravaggio, painted this replacement that was also rejected. The order questioned Saraceni’s decision to represent the Virgin dead, with her head slumped and eyes closed. Even though the painter altered her face, he was compelled to paint a second version with a background of angels welcoming her to heaven that remains today in Santa Maria della Scala.

The Dormition of the Virgin, Carlo Saraceni (Italian, Venice 1579?–1620 Venice), Oil on canvas

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