Saint Philip Neri (1515–1595)

Carlo Dolci Italian

Not on view

In an inscription, the artist records that he began this posthumous portrait on May 26, Saint Philip Neri’s feast day, and completed it eight days later for the church of San Firenze in Florence, adding, “I Carlo Dolci, painted the present image . . . [beginning] the first day of my thirtieth year 1645 [or 1646].” Since Neri, a great spiritual leader and founder of the Oratorians, had died fifty years previously, Dolci must have used a death mask to achieve the astonishing quality of physical presence. According to a contemporary: “[Philip Neri] had the pure look of a child, and his face and his eyes had a light in them that no painter has been able to capture, although many have tried.”

Saint Philip Neri (1515–1595), Carlo Dolci (Italian, Florence 1616–1687 Florence), Oil on canvas

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