Thursday, March 5, 2015

Saint Jerome Emiliani by Piazzetta Giovanni Battista - New York Robert Simon Fine Art

Giovanni Battista Piazzetta (Venice, 1682 - 1754)
San Girolamo Miani
Oil on canvas
16 1/4 x 12 1/4 inches (41.3 x 31.1 cm.)
Sale, Christie’s East, New York, Nov. 3, 1999, lot 213 (as Giovanni Battista Piazzetta: Saint Jerome Emiliani);
Collection Charles Blakiston Ashburner, Montross, Virginia, 1999-2010.
Adriano Mariuz and Rodolfo Pallucchini, L’opera complete del Piazzetta, Milan 1982, no. 204 as a lost painting known from the engraving of Antonio Baratti
Maria Agnese Chiari Moretto Wiel, ed. L’eredita di Piazzetta; Volti e figure nell’incisione del Settecento, exh. cat., Venice: Palazzo Ducale, 1996, p. 68, no. 135, for the Baratti engraving after the lost painting by Piazzetta
Engraved by Antonio Baratti, 1769 (IGM 191, 191a)
Engraved by Marco Pitteri (IGM 189)
Engraved by Pietro Perfetti (IGM 189a)
Engraved by Giovanni Petrini (IGM 190a)
Piazzetta's half-length paintings of saints are among his most memorable works. They are at once moving devotional images and probing character studies depicting a variety of physical types of different ages. Seen as a group (as when reviewing Pitteri's engravings after them) they are readily, almost defiantly distinguishable one from the other but identifiable only through the inclusion of an emblem appropriate the subject - here the crucifix resting atop the ball and shackle, associated with the Venetian saint Girolamo Miani. George Know was the first to identify the present painting as Piazzetta's lost depcition of the saint (who was also known as San Girolamo or St. Jerome Emiliani) --a work previously known from engravings by Antonio Baratti, Marco Pitteri, Pietro Perfetti and Giovanni Petrini*. The subject, Girolamo Miani (1481-1537), was a Venetian senator, celebrated for his many acts of charity. These were focused on the poor, the sick, on "fallen women," and orphans. In 1532 he founded a religious order, the "Company of the Servants of the Poor," later officially designated the "Clerici regulares S. Majoli Papiae congregationis Somaschae" (today generally known as Somaschi or Somascan Fathers) after its seat at Somasca on the shores of Lake Como.When young, Girolamo joined the Venetian army and was taken prisoner while defending Castelnuovo against the forces of the League of Cambrai. He was miraculously liberated from captivity - an event alluded to by the ball and shackle upon which the crucifix that is the object of the saint's devotion rests. Girolamo Miani was canonized by Pope Clement XIII in 1767 and it is reasonable to supposed that the present painting was executed at that time, or shortly after. Baratti's engraving of the painting is dated 1769. A poor copy of the painting is in the Collegio della Maddalena, Genoa (IGM 188).

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